Archive for the ‘Sports’ Category
Five time Pro Bowl tight end Todd Christensen, who played most of his career for the Oakland and LA Raiders, died Wednesday from complications during liver transplant surgery. He was 57.
Brigham Young University, where Christensen starred as a running back from 1974 to 1977 and was inducted into the school’s hall of fame in 1992, said in a tweet Wednesday he died from complications from surgery.
Christensen’s son Toby later told The Associated Press his father passed away Wednesday morning at Intermountain Medical Center near his home in Alpine, Utah. The Salt Lake Tribune reported he battled liver disease and other serious illnesses in recent years.
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Christensen was a devout Mormon who didn’t drink, and his family believes his liver problems started 25 years ago after a “botched” gall bladder operation, his son told the news outlet.
A member of four Western Athletic Conference championship teams at BYU. Christensen finished his college career with 1,089 rushing yards and seven touchdowns along with 1,566 receiving yards and 13 touchdown receptions.
A second-round pick of the Cowboys in the 1978 NFL draft. In his second season, with Dallas he was switched from fullback to tight end. Months later he was cut him from the team. He was picked up by the Giants and later by the Raiders where he thrived. In 1982 he began to emerge as one of the best tight ends in football, and in 1983 led the league in receptions with 92 while making the first of his five consecutive Pro Bowl appearances. He would lead the league in receptions again in 1986, with 95, and he won two Super Bowl rings during his time with the Raiders.
After retiring in 1987, Christensen worked as an NFL analyst for NBC and the Mountain West Sports Network.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
The Dodgers never had a chance in Game 6. (USATSI)
ST. LOUIS — Carlos Beltran and the Cardinals stunned Clayton Kershaw with a four-run third inning, rookie Michael Wacha was again magnificent on the mound and St. Louis advanced to its second World Series in three seasons by roughing up the Los Angeles…
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A 2-year-old son of Minnesota Vikings star running back Adrian Peterson died on Friday in a Sioux Falls, S.D., hospital, the victim of alleged abuse by a man who was dating the boy’s mother, police confirmed.
Peterson’s father, Nelson Peterson, confirmed Friday afternoon that the child is Adrian Peterson’s. Peterson met with the media Friday, hours before the boy passed away, and said at the time he still planned to play in Sunday’s game against Carolina, but declined to get into details about the case.
Peterson posted a statement on his Twitter account after news of the child’s death.
“Thank you to my family, my fans and fans of other teams for their support. The NFL is a fraternity of brothers and I am thankful for the tweets, phone calls and text messages from my fellow players. God Bless everyone and thank u so much,” Peterson wrote in three tweets.
Police arrested Joseph Robert Patterson, 27, who was initially charged with aggravated assault and aggravated assault on an infant. Sioux Falls police said additional charges are being considered.
Patterson has a prior domestic abuse record with a different woman and child, having pleaded guilty to simple assault in an incident last year involving an adult female and juvenile male.
Sioux Falls police said Patterson recently started a relationship with the mother of the 2-year-old victim. Patterson appeared in court Friday morning in Canton, S.D. His bond had been set at $750,000 in cash before the boy’s death.
The incident occurred in Patterson’s apartment, where the boy had recently moved with his mother. Patterson called 911 on Wednesday evening to report a choking at the Platinum Valley apartment, but Lt. Blaine Larsen of the Sioux Falls Police Department said it became clear at the hospital that the boy’s injuries were not accidental.
Sioux Falls police said the incident was initially reported as a medical emergency.
“As officers and first responders got there, they found child was unresponsive and he was taken to the hospital,” police spokesman Sam Clemens told USA TODAY Sports. “So they ended up calling police about that or letting them know. We had detectives talk to quite a few people to try to figure out what happened. What they ended up finding was that when the injuries happened there was one person with that child, and that person was Joseph Patterson.”
“The injuries they found were head injuries,” Clemens said. “It was obvious to medical staff that abuse had taken place and that those injuries weren’t accidental.”
Clemens said police believe the child’s mother was “gone for a short time, and that’s when we believe the injury occurred.”
In the aftermath of Patterson’s latest arrest, the Lincoln County prosecutor’s office on Friday filed motions to order Patterson to serve two year-long sentences that had been suspended in two prior domestic cases – one for the simple assault case and another for violating an order to stay away from the victim in that case. Those motions will be heard later this month.
Court records show that Patterson has a son with another Sioux Falls woman, and also show that the mother had asked for protection orders twice, claiming he’d choked and punched her, threatened her with a knife and held her in the bedroom against her will.
The mother chose not to pursue permanent protection orders, which ultimately were dropped voluntarily in 2010 and 2011.
In 2012, Patterson was charged with simple assault against the mother, however, and was ordered to undergo family violence training and to stay away from her until completing it.
Patterson’s child lives with his mother, who declined to comment Friday morning when reached by The Argus Leader.
Another woman applied for a protection order against Patterson in 2004 in Jackson County, where he attended high school.
Vikings coach Leslie Frazier, speaking before news of the child’s death, said Friday that it would be up to Peterson whether he plays this week.
“We’ll see how things go with him,” Frazier said. “We expect him to play, but this is a very personal situation that he’s dealing with.”
Vikings running back Toby Gerhart said many players had reached out to Peterson.
“We consider each other family and brothers. It’s clichéd and everybody says, ‘We’ve got each other’s back’ when we go on a football field, but when something like this happens, it’s truly a testament of being a teammate and how tight this family is,” Gerhart said.
“It’s a tough situation. We all reached out to him yesterday. Our thoughts and prayers are with him and his family.”
Peterson, meanwhile, said football helps get him through tough times.
“I plan on playing Sunday,” he said. “I will be playing Sunday, correct that. I’ll be ready to roll, focused. I’m worried about getting a W on Sunday, being 1-0… You know, football is something I will always fall back on. It gets me through tough times. Just being around the guys in here, that’s what I need in my life, guys supporting me and just being able to go out and play this game I love. Things that I go through, I’ve said a thousand times, it helps me play this game to a different level. I’m able to kind of release a lot of my stress through this sport, so that’s what I plan on doing.”
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Former San Diego Chargers defensive back Paul Oliver died from a self-inflicted gunshot in Marietta, Ga., on Tuesday night, authorities said, leaving his former teammates and coaches stunned and wondering what had happened to the 29-year-old who last played in the NFL two years ago.
Oliver played for the Chargers from 2007-11, where he was a teammate of Quentin Jammer, now with the Denver Broncos.
“He was a good friend of mine. Great guy. Great guy,” Jammer told USA TODAY Sports. “I mean, the early reports were that he committed suicide, and he just didn’t seem like that type of guy. You never know what somebody is going through, what’s going on in somebody’s life.”
“I hadn’t talked to him in a while. I wish now I could reach out to him. If I’d have known,” Jammer said, his voice trailing off.
Oliver killed himself with a handgun at about 6:45 p.m. on Tuesday, said Mike Bowman, public information officer for the Cobb County Police Department, though Bowman said Wednesday he did not know the location of the wound.
Jammer recalled Oliver as a talented player whom the Chargers converted to safety after Oliver arrived in San Diego in 2007. The Chargers released Oliver in the 2011 offseason, but re-signed him later that year because of injuries to other players. Oliver also spent time with the New Orleans Saints.
Chargers free safety Eric Weddle, another of Oliver’s close friends on the team, said he was “devastated.”
“I thought about it all practice,” he said. “Words can’t really express how as an ex-teammate — I was with him for five years — you have so many memories and so many thoughts. Football was the last thing I was thinking about out there today. It’s unfortunate. You feel for his family and his two kids.”
Weddle said he talked to Oliver about a year ago. “Wish I would have reached out to him more and helped him in some way,” he said.
The Chargers selected Oliver in the fourth round of the 2007 supplemental draft, and he played in 57 games, with 12 starts. He became a free agent in 2012.
“Everyone in the Chargers family is sad today after hearing the news about Paul,” the team said in a statement. “He was part of our family for five years. At just 29 years old, he had a lifetime in front of him.”
Oliver was a star cornerback for the University of Georgia, where he had seven interceptions, 114 tackles and three sacks during his three seasons in Athens. He turned pro and entered the supplemental draft after he was ruled academically ineligible before the 2007 season.
Georgia coach Mark Richt described Oliver’s death as “heartbreaking” on a conference call Wednesday morning.
“I was crushed this morning when I heard it, quite frankly,” Richt said. “I haven’ t been able to keep it off my mind, to be honest with you. We have to find a way to reach out and help any way we can.”
A native of Kennesaw, Ga., and graduate of Harrison High School, Oliver redshirted his freshman year before playing the 2004-06 seasons for the Bulldogs.
One of Oliver’s college highlights came in the 2006 Georgia-Georgia Tech game, when he held receiver Calvin Johnson – now a Pro Bowl player with the Detroit Lions – to two catches for 13 yards and had an interception in the final minute to seal a 15-12 win for the Bulldogs.
Oliver’s death hits a Chargers franchise still reeling from the 2012 suicide of Hall of Fame linebacker Junior Seau, who played 20 seasons in the NFL and shot himself in the chest at age 43. A study of Seau’s brain revealed he had suffered from a chronic degenerative brain disease.
Jammer, who played for the Chargers from 200-2012, just shook his head as he was asked about another Chargers’ tragedy.
“I’m still waiting around to see what the truth is. Committing suicide, no one really knows, except maybe his family,” Jammer said.
It is also another tragedy for the Cobb County football community. Kenny McKinley, the former Denver Broncos wide receiver from Mableton, Ga., died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound in 2009 at age 23.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported Wednesday that McKinley and Oliver faced each other twice in high school. Their college teams also played twice when McKinley was at South Carolina and Oliver at Georgia.
‘A fun guy’
The Chargers’ Weddle recalled Oliver as the “happiest guy ever. Just a joy to be around. Funny. Charismatic. Worked his tail off. Also quiet, reserved, at the same time. Justa great teammate and great friend. Great person. Never once said something bad about anyone.”
“He was just a fun guy to be around. You could always count on him on the field and off.”
Tight end Antonio Gates also remembered laughing with Oliver.
“You feel fortunate to be a part of his life the time he was here. I would never expect a guy like that to do certain things or make those type of judgments about life. It makes you appreciate life, makes you appreciate your family and kids. You just never know. Life is so short.”
Oliver is survived by his wife, the former Chelsea Young, and two children. Funeral arrangements have not been finalized.
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UFC 165 takes place Saturday night from the Air Canada Centre in Toronto. The main event features UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones defending his title against Alexander Gustafsson. Gustafsson sports a 15-1 record and has six straight wins in the UFC. He also presents an interesting style matchup for Jones, as his height and reach negates what has been one of Jones’ greatest advantages at 205 pounds.
In the semi-main event, Renan Barao defends his UFC interim bantamweight championship against Eddie Wineland. Wineland’s calling card is his striking but Barao is a prohibitive favorite with the oddsmakers. FS1 preliminary action begins at 5PM Pacific, with the pay-per-view portion of the card commencing at 7PM Pacific.
In preliminary action, Daniel Omielanczuk scored a third round knockout of Nandor Guelmino in a heavyweight bout. Alex “Bruce Leeroy” Caceres utilized superior striking to earn a split judges’ decision over Rolando Delorme. Michel Prazeres overcame a late surge by Jesse Ronson to win a split decision from the judges. And Canadian favorite John Makdessi knocked out Renee Forte with punches in the first round of their contest.
Mitch Gagnon vs. Dustin Kimura
Mitch Gagnon is a Canadian bantamweight who sports a 1-1 UFC record. Dustin Kimura is an undefeated Hawaiian who has finished 9 of 10 opponents in his young MMA career.
Round 1. Kimura lands a nice punch and Gagnon clinches. Gagnon looks for a takedown briefly but gives that up and connects with a solid knee. Kimura is bleeding from the nose. They exchange kicks to the body. Gagnon lands some heavy punches that back Kimura against the cage but Kimura answers with a punch to the body. Kimura lands a hard punch to the body and Gagnon leans down to clutch the spot he was punched. Kimura moves in and Gagnon uses the opportunity to take him down. Kimura looks for a heel hook from the bottom but can’t get it and Gagnon lands a few punches from top position. They return to the feet. Gagnon grabs a guillotine choke from the standing position and drops to the ground. Kimura fights it but goes unconscious and the fight is stopped. That was a tremendous one round fight.
Winner: Mitch Gagnon, submission, round 1.
Chris Clements vs. Stephen Thompson
Clements is on the older side for a fighter at age 37, making his UFC debut in 2012. His career record stands at 11-4 with 1 no contest. Thompson is rather unique in his own right, with an unconventional karate background and distinct striking style. He is 2-1 in the UFC.
Round 1. Thompson comes out in a sideways stance and goes to work with kicks from different angles. Clements takes advantage of the unique posture with a leg sweep and then looks for a takedown. Thompson blocks it and gets a takedown of his own. Clements gets up and they trade kicks. Clements clinches and pushes Thompson against the cage. Thompson gets Clements down but Clements stands up when Thompson attempts to pass guard and secure a better offensive position. On the feet, Clements appears a little tired while Thompson continues to move briskly. Thompson steps in with a punch and takes Clements down again at the end of the round. 10-9 Thompson.
Round 2. Thompson drops Clements with a four punch combination and looks to finish the fight on the ground. When he can’t, he takes half guard position and looks to move into side control. In the process, Clements just gets up like in the first round. Thompson staggers Clements with a right hand and the referee stops the bout as Thompson moves in looking to land additional blows.
Winner: Stephen Thompson, TKO, round 2.
Ivan Menjivar vs. Wilson Reis
Ivan Menjivar is a veteran of the sport who commands a lot of respect among fellow fighters. He first fought in the UFC in 2004 and has won four of his last six fights. Wilson Reis was once considered an elite bantamweight fighter based on his performances in EliteXC and Bellator but four Bellator losses severely lessened his hype. Now 16-4 with four straight wins, he makes his UFC debut.
Round 1. Reis is the aggressor early, pushing forward and looking to land power punches. Menjivar peppers him with kicks from the outside. They clinch and Menjivar lands some heavy knees with the Thai plum. They separate and the action slows down. Reis shoots for a takedown in the final minute and gets it. Reis lands a few blows to close out the round. 10-9 Menjivar.
Round 2. The fighters trade leg kicks. Reis then catches a leg kick and takes Menjivar to the ground. Reis lands some punches and elbows from top position and Menjivar isn’t able to do much from the bottom to threaten Reis. Menjivar finally stands up at the very end of the round. 10-9 Reis.
Round 3. Reis lands a kick to the body and goes for another takedown. Menjivar grabs his neck and looks to set up a guillotine choke so Reis makes sure to get out of danger before grabbing a waistlock and throwing Menjivar back down. This time, Reis is able to secure the dominant full mount position. Menjivar is forced to simply hold on. Reis lands some punches from the top and works to retain control. Eventually, Menjivar is able to get out of mount and has Reis in his guard as the round comes to an end. 10-9 Reis, 29-28 Reis. There’s no way Reis doesn’t win the fight because the last two rounds were obvious.
Winner: Wilson Reis, unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28).
Mike Ricci vs. Myles Jury
Ricci, a veteran of the Canadian MMA scene, gained notoriety from his tenure on the Ultimate Fighter TV show. He hasn’t thrived in the UFC thus far, going 1-1 with neither performance standing out. Myles Jury is undefeated at 12-0 with three straight UFC wins including a knockout of Ramsey Nijem and a decision win over the talented Michael Johnson.
Round 1. The fighters start the round a little bit hesitantly. Jury lands a pair of kicks and a right punch. Jury gets a takedown three minutes into the round, utilizing a powerful double leg to dump Ricci on the canvas. Ricci moves over by the cage and looks to wall walk back up to the standing position. Jury just focuses on holding Ricci down but Ricci finally gets up with 10 seconds left. Very dull round. 10-9 Jury.
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