Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Harrison Ordered HGH Before Super Bowl

In the days leading up to the Patriots' January 2004 playoff game against the Titans, New England's star safety Rodney Harrison was ordering drugs from a Florida wellness clinic that would later become a target of the Albany County district attorney.

According to law enforcement sources, Harrison requested an order by phone and was issued a phony prescription, signed by a doctor, for what was discovered to be human growth hormone, the Albany Times Union reported in Wednesday's editions.

It was reportedly the first shipment of HGH sent to Harrison, who had a standout postseason that year for the Patriots. New England went on to win Super Bowl XXXVIII in February over the Carolina Panthers.

The NFL suspended Harrison for the first four games of the regular season for violating its substance-abuse policy. Harrison, 34, is not being paid during his suspension. He will be eligible to return to the Patriots' active roster following the team's Oct. 1 game against the Cincinnati Bengals.

Harrison admitted that he has taken HGH but said he has never taken steroids.

"I want to make it clear," Harrison said before the season began, "that never once did I take steroids. I did admit to the commissioner that I took a banned substance."

The Boston Globe, citing law enforcement officials, reported in August that Harrison made no effort to disguise his name or address when he purchased HGH over the Internet. Harrison is not facing any criminal charges in the case.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Leftwich Close to Signing with Falcons

Former Jacksonville Jaguars QB Byron Leftwich may have found a new home.

The Falcons were meeting with Leftwich on Monday night to determine whether they want to sign the former Jaguars quarterback.

The Falcons were planning to sign another quarterback this week or next, but Joey Harrington's performance in Sunday's 13-7 loss to Jacksonville may have placed more urgency on bringing in an experienced quarterback.

If Leftwich is signed, he will be the third quarterback behind Harrington and Chris Redman. Falcons coach Bobby Petrino wants to bring in a passer who can be developed in his system and ultimately compete for the job, while at the same time securing the depth behind Harrington.

Meanwhile, the Falcons again are turning to Morten Andersen to solve their kicking woes.

One day after Matt Prater missed two field goals in the Falcons' 13-7 loss to the Jags, the Falcons cut him and signed the 47-year-old Andersen.

Andersen, an eight-time Pro Bowl selection and the NFL's career scoring leader with 2,445 points, is also the Falcons' leader with 707. He was Atlanta's kicker from 1995-2000 before coming back for a second stint with the team last year.

Andersen was 20-for-23 in field-goal attempts in 14 games with the Falcons last season, including 7-for-8 from 40 to 49 yards.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Belechick Find, Pats Lose Pick

New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick was fined the NFL maximum of $500,000 Thursday and the Patriots were ordered to pay $250,000 for spying on an opponent's defensive signals.

Commissioner Roger Goodell also ordered the team to give up next year's first-round draft choice if it reaches the playoffs and second- and third-round picks if it doesn't.

The videotaping came to light after a camera was confiscated from Patriots video assistant Matt Estrella while he was on the New York Jets' sideline during New England's 38-14 win last Sunday at Giants Stadium. Goodell will not change the outcome of the game.

New England, strengthened by the addition of Randy Moss and two other first-rate wide receivers as well as linebacker Adalius Thomas, is considered one of the favorites to win the Super Bowl for the fourth time since the 2001 season. If the Patriots lose their first-rounder next season they still will have a first-round pick, obtained from San Francisco in the deal that brought Moss from Oakland.

NFL rules state "no video recording devices of any kind are permitted to be in use in the coaches' booth, on the field, or in the locker room during the game'' and that all video or coaching purposes must be shot from locations "enclosed on all sides with a roof overhead."

NFL coaches long have suspected opponents of spying. In the early 1970s, the late George Allen, coach of the Washington Redskins, routinely would send a security man into the woods surrounding the team's practice facility because he suspected there were spies from other teams there.

And coaches like Seattle's Mike Holmgren and Philadelphia's Andy Reid, among others, always cover their mouths when calling plays from the sideline because they fear other teams have lip readers trying to determine their calls.

The action against Belichick is the latest in a series of harsh disciplinary actions taken by Goodell, who took office last Sept. 1, succeeding Paul Tagliabue.

The most notable were the indefinite suspension of Atlanta quarterback Michael Vick after he pleaded guilty to a federal dogfighting conspiracy and the one-year suspension of Tennessee cornerback Adam "Pacman'' Jones after numerous run-ins with police

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Everett Moving Arms, Legs

Kevin Everett might walk again after all.

The doctor who performed the spinal surgery on Everett told Buffalo TV station WIVB on Tuesday that Everett has voluntary movement of his arms and legs and as a result he is optimistic that Everett will walk again.

Dr. Andrew Cappuccino told WIVB that Everett's sedation levels were lowered on Tuesday, allowing him to respond to verbal commands. WIVB also reported that Everett's latest MRI shows only a small amount of swelling on his spinal cord.

Dr. Barth Green, chairman of the department of neurological surgery at the University of Miami school of medicine, agrees with the prognosis.

Green said he's been consulting with doctors in Buffalo since Everett sustained a life-threatening spinal cord injury Sunday after ducking his head while tackling the Denver Broncos' Domenik Hixon during the second-half kickoff of the Bills' season opener.

Everett dropped face-first to the ground after his helmet hit Hixon high on the left shoulder and side of the helmet.

Green said the key was the quick action taken by Cappuccino to run an ice-cold saline solution through Everett's system that put the player in a hypothermic state. Doctors at the Miami Project have demonstrated in their laboratories that such action significantly decreases the damage to the spinal cord due to swelling and movement.

Everett remains in intensive care and will be slowly taken off sedation and have his body temperature warmed over the next day, Green said. Doctors will also take the player off a respirator.

Buffalo's 2005 third-round draft pick out of Miami, Everett missed his rookie season because of a knee injury. He spent most of last year playing special teams. He was hoping to make an impact as a receiver.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Week One NFL Injury Report

Here you go fantasy football nuts. Here's the week one NFL injury report.

Note: Players in Sunday and Monday games will not be listed as doubtful, questionable or probable by the league until Friday.


CHIEFS at HOUSTON TEXANS — Chiefs: No injuries to report. Texans: No injuries to report.

ATLANTA FALCONS at MINNESOTA VIKINGS — Falcons: *S Chris Crocker (knee); #DT Roderick Coleman (knee). Vikings: *S Mike Doss (calf), LB E.J. Henderson (illness); #LB Vinny Ciurciu (hand), WR Robert Ferguson (ankle), DE Darrion Scott (shoulder), WR Bobby Wade (ankle), S Tank Williams (calf).

CAROLINA PANTHERS at ST. LOUIS RAMS — Panthers: *DE Stanley McClover (thigh), S Nate Salley (knee); #LB Jason Kyle (back). Rams: *WR Drew Bennett (thigh); #G Richie Incognito (ankle).

CHICAGO BEARS at SAN DIEGO CHARGERS — Bears: *TE Greg Olsen (knee). Chargers: Wednesday practice report unavailable.

DENVER BRONCOS at BUFFALO BILLS — Broncos: Wednesday practice report unavailable. Bills: OUT: DE Ryan Denney (foot), LB Keith Ellison (ankle).

DETROIT LIONS at OAKLAND RAIDERS — Lions: *QB Dan Orlovsky (toe); #RB Jon Bradley (shoulder), RB Kevin Jones (foot), DT Shaun Rogers (knee). Raiders: OUT: LB Isaiah Ekejiuba (foot).

MIAMI DOLPHINS at WASHINGTON — Dolphins: #CB Andre’ Goodman (shoulder). Washington: #LB Khary Campbell (hamstring).

NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS at NEW YORK JETS — Patriots: #S Rashad Baker (hand), TE David Thomas (foot), DE Mike Wright (knee). Jets: #CB Andre Dyson (foot), RB Thomas Jones (calf), CB Justin Miller (thigh), G Brandon Moore (shoulder), S Eric Smith (thigh).

PHILADELPHIA EAGLES at GREEN BAY PACKERS — Eagles: #DE Jevon Kearse (shoulder). Packers: OUT: DE Mike Montgomery (knee); #WR Donald Driver (foot), RB Ryan Grant (hamstring), RB Brandon Jackson (concussion), T Tony Moll (neck), RB Vernand Morency (knee), S Aaron Rouse (hamstring).

PITTSBURGH STEELERS at CLEVELAND BROWNS — Steelers: OUT: LB Marquis Cooper (hamstring); #QB Brian St. Pierre (toe). Browns: OUT: LB Willie McGinest (back); #S Mike Adams (groin), CB Gary Baxter (knees), LB Andra Davis (ankle), DE Orpheus Roye (knee), T Kevin Shaffer (concussion), G Eric Steinbach (knee), RB Lawrence Vickers (hamstring), P Dave Zastudil (back).

TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS at SEATTLE SEAHAWKS — Buccaneers: OUT: DE Patrick Chukwurah (knee); *TE Jerramy Stevens (player decision); #WR Joey Galloway (team decision). Seahawks: Wednesday practice report unavailable.

TENNESSEE TITANS at JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS — Titans: *TE Casey Cramer (knee), C Kevin Mawae (illness). Jaguars: *DE Reggie Hayward (Achilles), LB Clint Ingram (ankle), DT Tony McDaniel (knee), C Brad Meester (ankle), DE Kenneth Pettway (quadricep); #DT John Henderson (shoulder).

NEW YORK GIANTS at DALLAS COWBOYS — Giants: OUT: RB Robert Douglas (knee), WR David Tyree (wrist), LB Gerris Wilkinson (knee); #T Guy Whimper (ankle). Cowboys: *LB Kevin Burnett (ankle), LB Greg Ellis (Achilles), CB Terence Newman (foot).


BALTIMORE RAVENS at CINCINNATI BENGALS — Ravens: Did not practice Wednesday. Bengals: OUT: WR Antonio Chatman (hamstring), LB Rashad Jeanty (shin), S Ethan Kilmer (knee), DE Frostee Rucker (hamstring); *WR T.J. Houshmandzadeh (knee), CB Johnathan Joseph (foot); #K Shayne Graham (hip), CB Leon Hall (illness).

ARIZONA CARDINALS at SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS — Cardinals: OUT: DT Ross Kolodziej (knee). 49ers: Did not practice Wednesday.

* Did not participate in practice; # partial participation in practice.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Michigan Plummets Out Of Top 25

The final fallout from a disastrous opening weekend for Michigan came Tuesday, when the Wolverines dropped all the way out of The Associated Press Top 25, an unprecedented fall from No. 5 to unranked.

Since the AP poll expanded to 25 teams in 1989, no team has taken a bigger tumble in one week.

After an opening college football weekend filled with blowouts and highlighted by Appalachian State's stunning 34-32 upset of Michigan at the Big House, there was little notable movement in the Top 25 other than the Wolverines.

Southern California was voted No. 1 by the media panel, but the Trojans lost some support. USC received 62 first-place votes in the preseason poll. A lackluster 38-10 victory over Idaho led to the Trojans dropping to 59 first-place votes.

No. 2 LSU picked up those first-place votes, receiving five. No. 3 West Virginia received one first-place vote, the same as it did in the preseason.

No. 4 Florida and No. 5 Wisconsin moved up two spots. Oklahoma, tied for fifth, moved up three spots. No. 7 Texas fell three spots after slogging through a 21-13 home victory over Arkansas State.

No. 9 Virginia Tech held its place and plays at LSU on Saturday.

No. 10 California moved up two spots after a 45-31 victory over Tennessee. The Volunteers dropped eight spots to No. 23.

Florida State also fell out of the rankings. The Seminoles were 19th heading into their season opener at Clemson and lost 24-18 in the Bowden Bowl.

Clemson moved into the rankings at No. 25 and Georgia Tech also moved into the Top 25. The Yellow Jackets were 21st after winning at Notre Dame 33-3.

As for Michigan, the Wolverines became the first ranked team from Division I-A, now known as the Bowl Subdivision, to lose to a team from I-AA, now known as the Championship Subdivision.

Before Michigan's fall, Notre Dame held the ignominious record for largest drop in the rankings in the Top 25-era. The Fighting Irish dropped 16 spots -- from No. 9 to No. 25 -- after losing to Northwestern 17-15 on Sept. 3, 1995.

Texas dropped 15 spots in 1997, going from ninth to 24th after a 66-3 loss to UCLA in September 1997. Louisville also fell 15 spots -- 11th to unranked -- in September 2005 after losing to South Florida.

The highest ranked team to fall from the poll after one loss was No. 2 Oklahoma in 1959, when the AP was ranking the top 20 teams. Later that season Army went from No. 4 to unranked.

In 1950, Tennessee went from No. 4 to unranked in October and in 1960 Illinois fall out of the ranking from No. 4.

In the latest poll, No. 11 Georgia moved up two spots and was followed by Ohio State, UCLA, Penn State and Rutgers.

No. 16 Nebraska jumped four places. Auburn is 17th and Arkansas, TCU and Hawaii round out the first 20.

The final five are Georgia Tech, Boise State, Texas A&M, Tennessee and Clemson.

AP Top 25
1. USC (62) 0-0 1,622
2. LSU (2) 0-0 1,511
3. West Virginia (1) 0-0 1,396
4. Texas 0-0 1,375
5. Michigan 0-0 1,371
6. Florida 0-0 1,276
7. Wisconsin 0-0 1,192
8. Oklahoma 0-0 1,166
9. Virginia Tech 0-0 1,148
10. Louisville 0-0 1,031
11. Ohio State 0-0 876
12. California 0-0 790
13. Georgia 0-0 782
14. UCLA 0-0 605
15. Tennessee 0-0 571
16. Rutgers 0-0 560
17. Penn State 0-0 542
18. Auburn 0-0 519
19. Florida State 0-0 392
20. Nebraska 0-0 377
21. Arkansas 0-0 376
22. TCU 0-0 283
23. Hawaii 0-0 256
24. Boise State 0-0 187
25. Texas A&M 0-0 16

Others Receiving Votes
Boston College 126, Missouri 116, Miami (FL) 91, Oregon 90, Alabama 74, Oregon State 41, South Carolina 39, Michigan 39, Brigham Young 27, South Florida 27, Florida State 22, Arizona State 19, Southern Miss 9, Wake Forest 7, Washington 1, Kansas 1.
Dropped From Rankings
Michigan 5, Florida State 19.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

College Football Notes Week 1

If the opening week of the college football season is any indication of what the year may bring, then we're in for when hell of a ride.

Week one gave us what may be the biggest upset in the history of college football when Appalachian State, the defending DI-AA champs, upset fifth ranked Michigan 34-32 at the Big House in Ann Arbor.

The Mountaineers became the first I-AA team to defeat a ranked I-A team in history when Corey Lynch blocked Michigan's FG attempt with just seconds remaining.

Armanti Edwards, the sophomore QB threw for 227 yards and three TDs and rushed for one more. Mike Hart led the Wolverines in the losing effort with 188 yards and three scores.

No. 9 Virginia Tech opened the season with heavy hearts, but managed to hold off a pesky East Carolina squad, 17-7. Hokie QB Sean Glennon connected with TE Sam Wheeler on a 21-yard TD to extend the Hokies' lead to 17-7 in the fourth. Virginia Tech honored the memory of the 32 victims of the April tragedy with a moving pregame ceremony.

The Wisconsin Badgers, ranked seventh in the nation, opened the season in impressive fashion with a 42-21 victory over a tough Washington State squad. Senior QB Tyler Donovan proved he could fill John Stocco's shoes by passing for 284 yards and three touchdowns. he also had a touchdown on the ground.

Matthew Stafford, after an up-and-down freshman season, looked confident, throwing for 235 yards and two TDs to lead No.13 Georgia to the 35-14 victory over Oklahoma State.

Fourth-ranked Texas survived a scare from Arkansas State, but held on for the 21-13 win. Longhorn QB Colt McCoy found Antwan Cobb in the end zone with 2:49 remaining in the first quarter. That score was all the lead Texas would need. RB Jamaal Charles ran for 117 yards and a TD.

No. 18 Auburn rallied for 17 unanswered points, starting with a Wes Byrum field goal in the final minutes of the third quarter, to pull out the 23-13 victory over Kansas State. Auburn forced Kansas State to make mistakes -- including three turnovers and penalties (16 penalties, 144 yards).

The 12th-ranked Cal Golden Bears looked impressive in their 45-31 win over No. 15 Tennessee on Friday. DeSean Jackson had a 77-yard punt return for a score, while Justin Forsett rushed for 156 yards and a score, and Nate Longshore passed for 241 yards and two TDs as the Bears racked up the most points scored against the Volunteers in 12 years to win the opening weekend's only matchup between ranked schools. Erik Ainge had 271 yards passing and three TD throws despite an injured finger for the Vols.

Other scores from the Top 25: No. 16 Rutgers 38, Buffalo 3; No. 10 Louisville 73, Murray State 10; No. 2 LSU 45, Mississippi State 0; No. 24 Boise State 56, Weber State 7; No. 11 Ohio State 38, Youngstown State 6; No. 17 Penn State 59, Florida International 0; No. 6 Florida 49, Western Kentucky 3; No. 20 Nebraska 52, Nevada 10;
No. 3 West Virginia 62, Western Michigan 24, No. 14 UCLA 45, Stanford 17; No. 22 TCU 27, Baylor 0; No. 8 Oklahoma 79, North Texas 10; No. 21 Arkansas 46, Troy 26; No. 25 Texas A&M 38, Montana State 7; No. 1 USC 38, Idaho 10; and No. 23 Hawaii 63, Northern Colorado 6.

Highlight games from week 2 include: Navy (1-0) at Rutgers (1-0); Miami, FL (1-0) at Oklahoma (1-0); Nebraska (1-0) at Wake Forest (0-1); Boise State (1-0) at Washington (1-0); South Carolina (1-0) at Georgia (1-0); Notre Dame (0-1) at Penn State (1-0); BYU (1-0) at UCLA (1-0); TCU (1-0) at Texas (1-0); Virginia Tech (1-0) at LSU (1-0); and Colorado (1-0) at Arizona State (1-0).

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Upset In the Big House One For the Ages

What a way to open the 2007 college football season.

The biggest upset in the history of Michigan football and one of the biggest shocks in the history of the sport occurred at the Big House on Ann Arbor when defending DI-AA champion Appalachian State shocked the world by beating the Wolverines 34-32 on Saturday.

No Division I-AA team had beaten a team ranked in The Associated Press poll between 1989 and 2006, and it's unlikely that it had ever happened before. The Division I subdivisions were created in 1978.

The Mountaineers are not eligible to receive votes in the AP Top 25 poll because they're not in the Football Bowl Subdivision. The Mountaineers' win over Michigan was their first over a Football Bowl Subdivision opponent since their 20-10 win over Wake Forest in 2000.

Appalachian State's win does seem to trump the game second-tier programs used to regard as their crowning achievement -- The Citadel's season-opening win in 1992 over Arkansas that led to the firing of Razorbacks coach Jack Crowe after the game.

Carr will not get fired after this upset, but he might be wishing he had retired after last season when the Wolverines won 11 games before closing with losses to Ohio State and USC.

What the world saw was a blocked field goal in final seconds that gave the little Mountaineers a victory that will be talked about long after we have turned to dust.

Appalachian State 34, No. 5 Michigan 32. Who can believe it?

The team from Boone, N.C., took the lead with 26 seconds left when Julian Rauch kicked a 24-yard field goal. Corey Lynch blocked a 37-yard try on the final play, and the Mountaineers sealed a jaw-dropping upset that might have no equal.

The two-time defending champions from former Division I-AA were ahead of the nation's winningest program 28-14 late in the second quarter, before their storybook afternoon seemed to unravel late in the fourth quarter.

Hart's 54-yard run with 4:36 left put the Wolverines ahead for the first time since early in the second quarter.

One snap after the go-ahead touchdown, Michigan's Brandent Englemon intercepted an errant pass, but the Wolverines couldn't capitalize and had their first of two field goals blocked.

Then Appalachian State drove 69 yards without a timeout in 1:11 to set up the go-ahead field goal.

Appalachian State has won 15 straight games, the longest streak in the nation, and 27 of its last 31. The Mountaineers are favored to win the Football Championship Subdivision, but they weren't expected to put up much of a fight against a team picked to win the Big Ten and contend for the national title.

Games are not won on paper and now Lloyd Carr and the rest of the Michigan players and fans know how true that old cliche really is.