Adrian Peterson hoping to bring Vick to Minnesota

by: Brandon G. Boykins

Michael Vick will be a curious player in free agency. Some team will scoop him up because they need a quarterback and he’s probably the best one on the market.

What you’re getting with Vick now is a player who will be 34 by next season. His incredible athleticism isn’t completely gone, but he’s not the dynamic player he was a decade ago. He hasn’t played a full season of games since 2006. And in 30 games over the past three seasons he has been fairly average, with a rating hovering at about 80 and has had 35 turnovers than passing touchdowns with 35 in the past couple of years in Philadelphia. Even his solid showing last preseason with the Eagles has an asterisk, because look how much better Nick Foles ran the offense after Vick hurt his hamstring and was replaced.

090512-nick-foles-400Vick can help a few teams. He’s unquestionably better than Christian Ponder, though that’s not saying too much. But, he’s not the kind of impact player who can carry a franchise anymore.

Some team is going to think about Vick, dream about his glory days, consider the 2010 resurgence he had with the Eagles, and hope to get one or two more great seasons out of him. If the NFL’s best running back has his way, it’ll be in Minnesota.

Mizzou’s Michael Sam opens up

by: Brandon G. Boykins

Michael Sam, an All-American defensive lineman from Missouri and the Associated Press’ SEC Defensive Player of the Year, said that he is gay in an interview with ESPN’s “Outside the Lines” on Sunday.

Sam stated publicly what his teammates and coaches at Mizzou have known since August: “I am an openly, proud gay man.”

Sam is eligible for the NFL draft in May. Assuming that he is drafted, Sam could become the first openly gay player in the history of the NFL.

“I understand how big this is,” he said. “It’s a big deal. No one has done this before. And it’s kind of a nervous process, but I know what I want to be … I want to be a football player in the NFL.”

In 2014, “Gay Man to Enter Workforce” has the everyday-occurrence sound of a headline in The Onion. But when the NFL is involved, it’s a first — and potentially a landmark moment — in the history of American sports.

Sam’s decision to speak out now — in interviews with ESPN and the New York Times — comes after his experience two weeks ago at the Senior Bowl, where, he said, many already seemed aware of his sexual orientation.

“I didn’t realize how many people actually knew, and I was afraid that someone would tell or leak something out about me,” he said. “I want to own my truth. … No one else should tell my story but me.”

He had already confided in a few close friends, Sam recalled, and had dated a fellow athlete who was not a football player — so while coming out to his Mizzou teammates last year was a key moment, it came almost as an afterthought, during preseason training camp.

“Coaches just wanted to know a little about ourselves, our majors, where we’re from, and something that no one knows about you,” Sam said. “And I used that opportunity just to tell them that I was gay. And their reaction was like, ‘Michael Sam finally told us.’ ”

Asked what that moment felt like, Sam said, “I was kind of scared, even though they already knew. Just to see their reaction was awesome. They supported me from Day One. I couldn’t have better teammates. … I’m telling you what: I wouldn’t have the strength to do this today if I didn’t know how much support they’d given me this past semester.”

He did not ask them to keep his revelation a secret.

Missouri coach Gary Pinkel said in a statement that he’s proud of Sam.

“We’re really happy for Michael that he’s made the decision to announce this, and we’re proud of him and how he represents Mizzou,” Pinkel said. “Michael is a great example of just how important it is to be respectful of others, he’s taught a lot of people here first-hand that it doesn’t matter what your background is, or your personal orientation, we’re all on the same team and we all support each other.”

Raised in the small town of Hitchcock, Texas, Sam said he grew up uncertain about what his sexual orientation was.

“I knew from a young age that I was attracted to guys,” he said, “I didn’t know if it was a phase … I didn’t want to say, ‘Hey, I might be gay. I might be bi.’ I just didn’t know … I wanted to find who I was and make sure I knew what was comfortable. So I didn’t tell anyone growing up.”

It was an upbringing, he said, filled with adversity.

“I endured so much in my past: seeing my older brother killed from a gunshot wound, not knowing that my oldest sister died when she was a baby and I never got the chance to meet her. My second oldest brother went missing in 1998, and me and my little sister were the last ones to see him … my other two brothers have been in and out of jail since 8th grade, currently both in jail.

“Telling the world I’m gay is nothing compared to that.”

Sam had dinner on Saturday with Dave Kopay, a former NFL player who said he was gay in 1975 — three years after his playing career ended.

On Sunday night, the NFL released a statement supporting Sam.

“We admire Michael Sam’s honesty and courage,” NFL senior vice president of communications Greg Aiello said in the statement. “Michael is a football player. Any player with ability and determination can succeed in the NFL. We look forward to welcoming and supporting Michael Sam in 2014.”

Among other male pro athletes who have said they are gay, Jason Collins, a 12-year NBA veteran, came out in a Sports Illustrated article at the end of the 2012-13 regular season, but has not played for a team since. Midfielder Robbie Rogers became first openly gay male athlete to play in a U.S. professional team sports league when he entered a MLS game in May 2013.

Conner Mertens, a kicker for Willamette University, last month became the first active college football player in the U.S. to come out publicly.

Collins took to Twitter to praise Sam’s courage.

Jason Collins donates jersey for LGBT youth

by: Brandon G. Boykins

The NBA plans to donate proceeds from sales of Jason Collins jerseys to the Matthew Shepard Foundation and the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network.

Collins became the league’s first openly gay player when he signed with the Brooklyn Nets last Sunday, and his No. 98 jersey has been the top seller on NBAStore.com. He chose the number in tribute to Shepard, who was killed in a gay hate crime in 1998. Collins met Shepard’s parents on Thursday when the Nets played in Denver.

The league says Friday the donations will total no less than $100,000, and it will also auction off Collins’ autographed, game-worn jerseys to benefit the same organizations.

Collins says he is thrilled to help the organizations that “work tirelessly to ensure LGBT youth get the resources and assistance they need to be successful in life.”

Lakers escape Cavaliers with just five

lakers vs cavsBy: Brandon G. Boykins

The Los Angeles Lakers ended their 5 game losing streak by leaving Robert Sacre on the court after he fouled out in the fourth quarter. Coach Mike D’Antoni felt it was the best move for his depleted team. It’s been that kind of year for the short-handed Lakers.

Los Angeles lost two more players to injuries Wednesday night and had to go to a little-known NBA rule to hold on for a 119-108 victory against the Cleveland Cavaliers.

“That was, by far, one of the strangest games I’ve ever seen,” D’Antoni said.

Rookie Ryan Kelly scored a career-high 26 points and Steve Blake had his first career triple-double for Los Angeles, which snapped a seven-game losing streak. The Lakers set a franchise record for 3-pointers, going 18-for-37 from long range. But Los Angeles’ first win in two weeks was overshadowed by a bizarre ending.

The Lakers had eight available players going into the game. Then Nick Young twisted his left knee in the first half, and Chris Kaman fouled out early in the fourth quarter. When Jordan Farmar left with leg cramps in the final period, that put Los Angeles at five players.

Sacre committed his sixth foul with 3:32 remaining but stayed in the game because D’Antoni was out of healthy bodies. The Lakers were assessed a technical foul.

“That was just crazy,” Sacre said. “When I got my sixth foul, I was just like, ‘Oh, dang!’ Then I got to come back in, so I thought it was something special. I didn’t know what was going on.”

Each side has to have five players on the court at all times during an NBA game. With the Lakers down to five healthy players, D’Antoni was informed by the officials that he could leave Sacre on the floor and any additional foul on the center would also result in a technical.

“I didn’t know about that rule, but it’s a nice rule,” D’Antoni said with a chuckle.

The Lakers were without Steve Nash (rest), Jodie Meeks (sprained ankle) and Jordan Hill (strained neck). Pau Gasol (groin) and Kobe Bryant (knee) remained in Los Angeles for the three-game trip.

The situation was so unusual that Nash, who was in street clothes, went to the locker room and put on his uniform late in the game, but D’Antoni said he had no intention of putting the point guard into the game.

“I was not going to go to Nash — it was not an option to us — but the other thing we talked about was having Jordan go out there and just stand in the corner,” D’Antoni said. “When the officials came over to explain the options to me, we decided to keep Robert out there. I knew he would be smart and not commit too many more fouls.”

Nash played for the first time since Nov. 10 on Tuesday night after being out because of a nerve problem in his back. Meeks sprained his right ankle about a minute into Tuesday’s game, and Hill was elbowed in the head by Kaman.

Farmar scored 21 points and Wesley Johnson added 20 for the Lakers, who shot 53 percent from the field. Blake had 11 points, 15 assists and 10 rebounds.

C.J. Miles led Cleveland with 27 points. All-Star point guard Kyrie Irving was taken out with 7:32 remaining in the third quarter and finished with 11 points as the Cavaliers lost their sixth consecutive game, tying their longest losing streak of the season.

Anderson Varejao was the only starter to play in the fourth quarter as Miles, Anthony Bennett, Matthew Dellavedova and Dion Waiters got the Cavaliers back in the game.

462699397_10“They definitely deserved to be on the floor,” Irving said. “That second group did a heck of a job. You have to give a whole bunch of credit to them. If I were the coach, I would have played that second group as long as he did.”

“Maybe we can learn something from what that group did on the floor,” Cleveland coach Mike Brown said. “They played the right way.”

The Lakers built a 29-point lead in the second quarter and led 96-68 late in the third period before the Cavaliers rallied. Cleveland cut the lead to 100-90 early in the fourth and got to 114-108 before Blake’s 3-pointer with 56.9 seconds left finally sealed the win.

While the Cavaliers were off Tuesday, the Lakers lost in Minnesota and flew through a snowstorm to arrive in Cleveland around 2 a.m. local time Wednesday.

Los Angeles had 22 assists on 25 field goals in building a 70-49 halftime lead while Cleveland’s offense was stagnant. The Cavaliers shot 37 percent from the field and were 1-of-18 on 3-pointers.

Seahawks soar over Broncos for Superbowl victory

Super Bowl XLVIII - Seattle Seahawks v Denver Broncosby: Brandon G. Boykins

The Seattle Seahawks’ motto all season was to make each day a championship day.

They made Super Bowl Sunday the best day of all with one of the greatest performances in an NFL title game, sparked by a defense that ranks among some of the best ever.

The Seahawks won their first Super Bowl crown in an overpowering fashion, punishing Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos, 43-8. That masterful defense, never let the five-time Most Valuable Player get going by disarming the highest scoring offense in the leagues history.

“The only way we could say we were the best defense was to take down the best offense,” linebacker Bobby Wagner said.

“Maybe defense wins championships, after all,” observes CBSSports.com NFL writer Will Brinson. “The Seahawks made the case for such a statement Sunday night in the crisp, northern air, demolishing the best offense in NFL history.

” This game was the Seahawks smacking the Broncos in the mouth and Denver standing around just taking it and bleeding all over the field.

” … The Broncos got bloodied and beaten some worse then the other. Seattle owned up to their philosophy by trying to take it to the opposing opponents. The Seahawks set an NFL Superbowl record by staying on the field the longest with the ball. They held the ball for 23 minutes and 48 seconds.

Absolute domination.”

Seattle (16-3) was too quick, too physical and just too good for Denver, and that was true in all areas. What was hyped as a classic matchup between an unstoppable offense and a miserly defense turned into a rout.

“We been relentless all season,” quarterback Russell Wilson said. “Having that mentality of having a championship day every day. At the end of the day, you want to play your best football and that is what we did today.”

Punctuating Seattle’s dominance were a 69-yard interception return touchdown by linebacker Malcolm Smith to make it 22-0, and Percy Harvin’s sensational 87-yard kickoff runback to open the second half.

Smith was the game’s MVP, the first defender in 11 years to win the award.

When the Seahawks were up by 29 points, they happened to force Denver punt early in the third quarter. All due to the 12th Man and there were legions of them in MetLife Stadium – in which began chanting “L-O-B, L-O-B.”

As in Legion of Boom, the Seahawks hard-hitting defensive secondary line, part of a young team with an average age of 26 years, which is 138 days.legion of boom

“This is an amazing team. Took us four years to get to this point but they never have taken a step sideways,” coach Pete Carroll said. “These guys would not take anything but winning this ballgame.”

The loss by the Broncos again raised questions about Manning’s ability to win the biggest games. He is 11-12 in the postseason, 1-2 in Super Bowls. After the game, he brushed off questions about his legacy.

“Certainly to finish this way is very disappointing,” he said.

He never looked comfortable against a defense some will begin comparing to the 1985 Bears and 2000 Ravens – other NFL champions who had runaway Super Bowl victories.

Seattle forced four turnovers; Denver had 26 all season.

The Seahawks looked comfortable and at ease, and not just their defense, which lost All-Pro cornerback Richard Sherman to a high ankle sprain in the fourth quarter. He celebrated on crutches.

“I hope we etched out names in the history books,” Sherman said.

Wilson, who has an NFL-record 28 wins in his first two pro seasons, including playoffs, had a 23-yard TD pass to Jermaine Kearse late in the third quarter to make it 36-0.

Wilson also hit Doug Baldwin for a 10-yard score in the final period in what had become one of the most lopsided Super Bowls. For the fifth time in six meetings between the NFL’s No. 1 offense and defense, the D dominated.

“It’s all about making history,” All-Pro safety Earl Thomas said. “This was a dominant performance from top to bottom.”

Denver fell to 2-5 in Super Bowls, and by the end, many of Manning’s passes resembled the “ducks” Sherman said the All-Pro quarterback sometimes threw.

The victory was particularly sweet for Carroll, who was fired in 1994 by the Jets, led the Patriots for three seasons and was again, canned. After a short stint out of coaching, he took over at Southern California and won two national titles.

But he always felt there was unfinished business in the NFL. Carroll finished that business by lifting the Vince Lombardi Trophy, four years after taking charge in Seattle and eight years after the Seahawks lost in their only previous Super Bowl, to Pittsburgh.

No Super Bowl had been played outdoors in a cold-weather city before – not that the Big Apple was anything close to frozen Sunday, with a 49-degree temperature at kickoff.

Things went sour for Manning and the Broncos from the very first scrimmage play, and by halftime they were down 22-0 – their biggest deficit of the season and the only time they didn’t score in a half.

On that first play for the Broncos, Manning stepped up toward the line just as center Manny Ramirez snapped the ball. It flew past his quarterback into the end zone, where Knowshon Moreno dived on it for a safety.

A mere 12 seconds in, Seattle led 2-0 with the quickest score in Super Bowl history, beating Chicago’s Devin Hester’s kickoff return to open the 2007 game – against Manning’s Colts.

That one ended much better for Manning as Indianapolis won the championship. This one was a fiasco throughout.

Steven Hauschka, who missed only 2 of 40 field goals entering the game, made a 31-yarder for 5-0 and a 33-yarder for 8-0 after Doug Baldwin toasted 15-year veteran cornerback Champ Bailey, in his first Super Bowl, for 37 yards on third down.

Then the Seahawks began scoring touchdowns.

Manning’s third-down pass to Julius Thomas sailed way too high and directly to safety Kam Chancellor, giving the Seahawks the ball at Denver’s 37. Harvin, finally healthy after a virtually wasted first season in Seattle, sparked the short drive with a 15-yard burst, and a third-down pass interference call on Tony Carter gave Seattle the ball at the 1.

Marshawn Lynch scored to make it 15-0.

Then Smith, with a play emblematic of the best defense the NFL has seen in years, made his second huge play in two weeks.peyton manning

Cliff Avril got to Manning’s arm as he was throwing, the ball fluttered directly to Smith, who took off down the left sideline for a 69-yard interception TD.

Manning trudged to the sideline, a look of disgust on his face.

That look didn’t improve when, after a drive to the Seattle 19, his fourth-down pass was tipped by Chris Clemons and fell harmlessly to the Meadowlands turf.

So did Denver’s reputation as an unstoppable force.

Eagles crumble Shasta College

FeatherRiverMascotby: Brandon G. Boykins

Feather River dominates Sacramento City College Panthers (1-6; 0-3), 41-8. Feather River College (5-2; 1-0) rolled up 226 rushing yards and sophomore running back Farrell Victor (Las Vegas H.S.) collected the bulk of those yards, rushing for 203 yards including a 66 yard touchdown. Victor broke Tim Hansen’s record for single season rushing yards 851, and Christian Thompson’s career mark, 940, and still has 3 games left in the season to push both marks much higher. On the season Victor has 977 yards rushing and 13 rushing touchdowns.

Freshman Quarterback Ja’Quay Garmon (South Fulton H.S.) was 20 of 36 for 407 yards passing throwing for a Feather River College game record 5 touchdowns. Garmon also shattered the single season touchdowns record, as he has now thrown for 21 touchdowns, breaking the mark held by Tyler Pine (17). Garmon figures to add many more onto his season total, which will inevitably take him towards the career mark also held by Tyler Pine (27).

Sophomore wide receiver Miguel Cerriteno (Las Vegas H.S) had just five catches, but they were all pivotal and 3 of them were for explosive touchdowns of 39, 62 and 38. Cerriteno’s ended the game with 173 receiving yards. LaVon Pearson, the Golden Eagles top wide receiver had 8 catches for 150 yards, including a breathtaking 78 yard touchdown early in the first quarter. Drake White also got into the scoring action with a 43 yard reception from Garmon. White would end the game with 4 catches for 75 yards.

The biggest stat of the night had to be the yardage difference between both teams as Feather River combined for 633 yards, despite having 6 offensive turnovers, while the Panthers could only amass 232 total yards of offense. The Feather River defense truly punished the Sacramento City offense.
FRC Football
Feather River sophomore defensive lineman Brandon Boykins (Hug H.S.) added some fireworks all throughout the game. He led the team with 14 total tackles, assisting on 8, including 1.5 tackles for a loss of 4 yards.  Kyle Newsom played exceptionally well adding 3 sacks, pushing his season total to 8 for the year. Cade Rogers intercepted a Sacramento City pass, Daishun Jackson intercepted a pass and not to be outdone, Tajmire Flood added one of his own that topped the difficulty meter basically stealing the ball away from the receiver. Ryan LeRoy also played well totaling 7 tackles. The Golden Eagles defense ended the game with 14 tackles for loss.

Eagles running with Foles

090512-nick-foles-400by: Brandon G. Boykins
Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick did a lot more than expected at practice Tuesday, despite a hamstring injury that Vick suffered against the New York Giants, that is expected to keep him out of the lineup this week against the Tampa Buccaneers who has had a rough start to the NFL season, especially recently letting go of former starting QB Josh Freeman. Who has also signed a one year deal with the Minnesota Vikings.

Nick Foles practiced with the starters in team drills in place of Vick, who said he was “very surprised” at how good he felt just two days after suffering the injury, Vick participated in individual drills. There “wasn’t too much I couldn’t do,” Vick said.

Vick was back on the field Wednesday, starting off the practice session in full pads, but he ended up leaving early, according to Jeff McLane of The Philadelphia Inquirer.

vickVick’s accuracy has been up and down this season. Coach Chip Kelly relied more on Vick’s legs against the Giants last week, and won’t want to force him back on the field too soon. Foles did a nice job getting the ball out of his hands quickly in the same game while coming in for Vick in the rest of the 3rd and 4th quarter. Foles missed some deep shots, but he showed nice pocket movement and was aggressive.

It’s a surprise that Vick got back on the practice field so soon, but it still looks like Foles’ job this week. Foles played very well against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers last year. If Foles does that again, perhaps Kelly can be even more cautious about bringing Vick back on the field.