Sports Outside the Beltway

Pro Football Hall of Famer Bill Dudley dead at age 88

He was league MVP in 1946. RIP.

Bill Dudley, a Hall of Fame player who in 1946 with the Pittsburgh Steelers led the NFL in rushing, punt returns and interceptions, has died. He was 88.

He had a stroke Saturday and was admitted to Lynchburg General Hospital, son Jim Dudley said Thursday. He said his father had not been ill before the stroke and died in his wife’s arms.

“Bullet” Bill Dudley was a runner, passer, punter, kicker and defensive back during his nine-year NFL career, highlighted by his 1946 season in which he was the league’s Most Valuable Player. While with the Washington Redskins, he shared an apartment with NFL great Sammy Baugh. Dudley later served in the Virginia Legislature.

“He lived to a high standard,” Jim Dudley told The Associated Press. “He was devoted to service and having a positive effect on those people he associated with, and he did. If that’s the measure of greatness, he was a great man.”

Dudley starred in college at Virginia and was the No. 1 overall draft choice of the Steelers in 1942. He played three seasons with Pittsburgh, a stay interrupted in 1943 and 1944 because of Army service during World War II. He later played three years with the Detroit Lions and three with the Redskins, ending with his retirement in 1953.

The year after his MVP season, Dudley scored 11 touchdowns — on seven receptions, two rushes, a punt return and an interception return.


NFL considering mandatory echocardiograms

The NBA has required this test for its players since 2006. From ESPN-

Between the time of Bears defensive end Gaines Adams’ death last Sunday to his funeral Friday, the NFL’s Cardiovascular Committee began discussing the possibility of subjecting all players to a heart scan called an echocardiogram, starting with potential draft picks invited to the NFL scouting combine next month.

NFLPA medical director Thomas Mayer told ESPN that the medical examiner who performed an autopsy on Adams stated the enlarged heart that led to his death could have been detected by an echocardiogram.

But, as Mayer pointed out, the process is complicated.

Is the fear of legal liability going to influence a doctor? Are cardiologists going to agree on whether a player has an enlarged heart or an athlete’s heart? Does that mean he’s systematically finished as a football player?

More likely, a questionable echocardiogram could lead to more sensitive tests, such as a cardio catheter procedure.

As a person who had major cardiac surgery less than 18 months ago, I see mandatory electrocardiograms as a good idea. Putting the policy into place will be complicated, but it shouldn’t be used as a reason not to do this. My heart condition, a bicuspid heart valve and ascending aortic aneurysm was very serious, and till as little as two weeks prior to my operation, nobody knew I had those conditions. Some heart problems in addition to a enlarged hearts, show few or little warning signs.

I would also add that a large amount if not majority of NFL players, are grossly overweight. Heart testing is for their own good.


NFL changes return to play concussion rules

Nearly 1/5th of NFL players surveyed said they hidden or downplayed the effects of a concussion. From AP-

NFL teams now have new, stricter instructions for when players should be allowed to return to games or practices after head injuries, guidelines that go into effect this week.

In the latest step by the league to address a hot-button issue, commissioner Roger Goodell sent a memo to the 32 clubs Wednesday saying a player who gets a concussion should not return to action on the same day if he shows certain signs or symptoms.

Those include an inability to remember assignments or plays, a gap in memory, persistent dizziness and persistent headaches.

The old standard, established in 2007, said a player should not be allowed to return to the same game if he lost consciousness.

Wednesday’s memo also says players “are to be encouraged to be candid with team medical staffs and fully disclose any signs or symptoms that may be associated with a concussion.”

The new guidelines sound good in practice(I think they were overdue. A player not able to think clearly has no business being on a football field.) but I doubt they will be adhered to. Coaches are under pressure to win and most NFL players aren’t inclined to challenge these people who have authority over them. A person is also more likely to press on and shrug off any ill feelings they have. I know I have for maladies large and small, including a slight concussion I suffered six years ago after an auto accident.


Second Chance- Detroit Lions beat Cleveland 38-37

Matthew Stafford was flat on his back, getting his left shoulder evaluated on the sideline by the Detroit Lions medical staff.

The Cleveland Browns called a timeout and gave the rookie a chance to get back in the game.

Stafford threw his fifth touchdown pass from 1 yard to Brandon Pettigrew and Jason Hanson’s extra point with no time on the clock gave Detroit a thrilling 38-37 win over Cleveland on Sunday.

“That was wild,” Stafford said with ice strapped around his shoulder.

The No. 1 pick in the NFL draft became the first rookie to throw five TDs in a game since Ray Buivid for the Bears in 1937, according to STATS LLC.

Detroit was given the untimed play because safety Hank Poteat was called for pass interference in the end zone when Stafford heaved a desperation attempt.

Just an amazing finish. If not for a Brown timeout, Stafford wouldn’t have gotten the opportunity. Shades of Tony Sparano’s timeout to ice the New Orleans kicker. The Saints got the touchdown instead of the field goal and things went down hill from there for the Miami Dolphins. Here I don’t question Mangini’s call. In hindsight it looks bad, but his team needed time more than the Dolphins did.

Stafford’s five TD throws almost equaled his total for the year prior to this game(6). Cleveland Brown QB Brady Quinn also had a career day with 4 touchdown passes.

Two bad teams put on an entertaining game. Who would have thunk it? I certainly didn’t.


Detroit Lions put two defensive backs on Injured Reserve

Maybe Hall of Famer Lem Barney can come out of retirement to help the banged up Lions. From Sports Network-

The Detroit Lions placed safety Marquand Manuel on injured reserve due to a shoulder problem, meaning he will miss the remainder of the season.

The team also put cornerback Jack Williams on IR with a torn ACL in his left knee.

Lions safety Kalvin Pearson (hamstring), guard Stephen Peterman (ankle), linebacker Ernie Sims (hamstring), defensive end Dewayne White (toe) and wide receiver Derrick Williams (hip) all didn’t practice Wednesday.

So who gets first shot at tearing apart Detroit’s pass defense? The Cleveland Browns, who like the Lions, have won just one game this year. Will anyone outside of Ohio and Michigan be watching this game next weekend?

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Donald Driver sets new Packer reception record as Green Bay beats Detroit 26-0

He broke the previous mark held by Sterling Sharpe. From AP-

Aaron Rodgers got knocked around again but still managed to have a big day against the Detroit Lions’ defense, throwing for 358 yards with two touchdowns and an interception in the Green Bay Packers’ 26-0 victory Sunday.

Donald Driver became the franchise’s career receptions leader with a first-quarter catch and rookie outside linebacker Clay Matthews III had two sacks as the Packers (3-2) turned in a dominant defensive effort against an undermanned Lions offense.

Detroit (1-5) was without rookie quarterback Matthew Stafford and wide receiver Calvin Johnson because of injuries — and it showed, as the Lions managed only 79 yards of total offense in the first half. Backup quarterback Daunte Culpepper hurt his hamstring in the third quarter and was replaced by third-stringer Drew Stanton.

The Lions after getting their first win since 2007, generated some enthusiasm for a significant turnaround this year. Now they are 1-5 and banged up at Quarterback. More than three wins this year is overly optimistic IMHO.


It’s over- Detroit beats Washington 19-14

The Lions hadn’t won a regular season game since December 2007. From AP-

The Detroit Lions ended their 19-game losing streak by holding off the Washington Redskins 19-14 Sunday.

Matthew Stafford threw a 21-yard touchdown pass to Bryant Johnson in the first quarter and the two connected to draw a key penalty to set up a TD in the fourth quarter.

The Lions (1-2) had not won since Dec. 23, 2007 and their skid matched the second longest in NFL history.

Washington (1-2) pulled within five points on Jason Campbell’s second touchdown pass with 2:36 left in the game, but couldn’t prevent the Lions from picking up a first down that ran time off the clock and cost it three timeouts.

These are two of the worst teams in the whole NFL. If they win 10 games between the two of them this year, I’d be greatly surprised.


Former Detroit Lions Coach Monte Clark dead at 72

He was also one of Don Shula’s assistants during their undefeated season.The AP article fails to note that Clark was the head coach of the San Francisco 49ers for one season. This isn’t the first such omission involving AP’s sports obituaries in recent history. Does the wire service ever think about checking a football reference book or wikipedia? RIP Coach Clark.

Former Detroit Lions coach Monte Clark has died at 72.

The Lions said Clark died Wednesday night at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit. He had a bone marrow malignancy associated with lung and liver disease.

Clark coached the Lions for seven seasons and was an assistant on the Miami Dolphins team that went 17-0 in 1972. He was the coach of Detroit from 1978 to 1984 and had a 63-61-1 record in the regular season.

He led the Lions to the playoffs in 1982 and 1983, the first time the club made consecutive postseason appearances since its three straight playoff runs from 1952 to 1954.

He was a tackle who spent 11 years in the league with San Francisco, Dallas and Cleveland. His last season as a player was 1969.


Former Detroit Lion DB/WR Terry Barr dead at 73

He was a rookie on the last Lions team to win the NFL Championship. RIP.

Former Lions defensive back and receiver Terry Barr, a rookie on Detroit’s last championship team in 1957, has died. He was 73.

Barr died Thursday at his Bloomfield Hills home after a long battle with Alzheimer’s disease, said team spokesman Tim Pendell.

“Terry Barr was a true gentleman,” Lions president Tom Lewand said in a statement released by the team. “Not only was he an outstanding player throughout his career with the Lions, University of Michigan and Grand Rapids Central, but he was a genuinely kind and endearing man. Anyone who had the honor of knowing Terry loved him.”

Barr was a standout football and track athlete at Grand Rapids Central High School and a Michigan state champion in the 440-yard run in 1952 and 1953. He attended the University of Michigan, where he played defensive back and running back.

He was a third-round draft pick in 1957 and played defensive back for the Lions, returning an interception for a touchdown in the team’s 59-14 NFL title game over the Cleveland Browns.

Barr later switched to receiver and made two Pro Bowl appearances, in 1963 and 1964. He played nine seasons with the Lions and ranks 12th among Lions receivers, with 227 catches, 3,810 yards and 35 touchdowns.

“I don’t think Terry ever dropped a ball,” fellow Lions receiver Gail Cogdill said. “My kids just loved him. I loved him. He had great speed and was a class man and leader.”

Barr retired after the 1965 season and went into business.


Former AFL and NFL Quarterback Jack Kemp dead at 73

His pro football playing days were before I began to watch the sport. I do remember his long career in politics. He helped to shape the modern Republican party. RIP.

Jack Kemp, the ex-quarterback, congressman, one-time vice-presidential nominee and self-described “bleeding-heart conservative,” died Saturday. He was 73.

Kemp died after a lengthy illness, according to spokeswoman Bona Park and Edwin J. Feulner, a longtime friend and former campaign adviser. Park said Kemp died at his home in Bethesda, Md., in the Washington suburbs.

Kemp’s office announced in January that he had been diagnosed with an unspecified type of cancer. By then, however, the cancer was in an advanced stage and had spread to several organs, Feulner said. He did not know the origin of the cancer.


Kemp was a 17th round 1957 NFL draft pick by the Detroit Lions, but was cut before the season began. After being released by three more NFL teams and the Canadian Football League over the next three years, he joined the American Football League’s Los Angeles Chargers as a free agent in 1960. A waivers foul-up two years later would land him with the Buffalo Bills, who got him at the bargain basement price of $100.

Kemp led Buffalo to the 1964 and 1965 AFL Championships, and won the league’s most valuable player award in 1965. He co-founded the AFL Players Association in 1964 and was elected president of the union for five terms. When he retired from football in 1969, Kemp had enough support in blue-collar Buffalo and its suburbs to win an open congressional seat.

In 11 seasons, he sustained a dozen concussions, two broken ankles and a crushed hand — which Kemp insisted a doctor permanently set in a passing position so that he could continue to play.

“Pro football gave me a good perspective,” he was quoted as saying. “When I entered the political arena, I had already been booed, cheered, cut, sold, traded, and hung in effigy.”


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