Key Colorado Buffs football players getting healthy, returning to field

Key Colorado Buffs football players getting healthy, returning to field

21/08/2018, Denver, Multi Sports, Denver Post Publication, Article # 27546790

Two of the best players on the Colorado football team are close to returning to the field at full speed.

Receiver Juwann Winfree and safety Evan Worthington have been limited or held out of practice for much of preseason camp, but should both be back this week.

Winfree has been limited in camp for an undisclosed injury, while Worthington has missed some time with a concussion.

CU head coach Mike MacIntyre said Winfree, a senior captain who could be the Buffs’ top receiver, returned to practice Monday.

“(He didn’t do) everything, but he did a lot of stuff full speed,” MacIntyre said. “He should be back going full speed before the week is over.”

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Ohio State trustees set Wednesday meeting on Urban Meyer’s future

Ohio State trustees set Wednesday meeting on Urban Meyer’s future

21/08/2018, Denver, Multi Sports, Denver Post Publication, Article # 27546791

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Ohio State trustees set a private meeting for Wednesday to talk about the future of coach Urban Meyer as the university seeks to quickly move past a scandal that has consumed the football program for nearly a month.

Meyer has been the subject of an investigation into the handling of domestic-abuse allegations against former assistant coach Zach Smith.

The university said factfinders briefed the board on Monday. The panel will convene in a public session on Wednesday morning before going behind closed doors to discuss the next steps. President Michael V. Drake will have the final say on whether Meyer keeps his job or faces other consequences.

“(Monday’s) briefing is to ensure that board members are adequately prepared to discuss this matter at Wednesday’s meeting,” Ohio State spokeswoman Emily Caldwell said Monday in an email.

No timetable was given for final resolution of the matter, which has overshadowed the team’s preparation for the 2018 season that begins at home Sept. 1.

The trustees hired an outside law firm for $500,000 to do the investigation, which took two weeks.

The investigation centers on what Meyer knew and did about allegations of abuse against Smith, who was fired July 23 after his wife sought a protective order. Smith hasn’t been charged or convicted of abuse, but his ex-wife Courtney Smith alleged her husband shoved her against a wall and put his hands around her neck in 2015.

Meyer has said he handled the accusations properly when he found out about them, but acknowledged he lied to reporters at first when he said he hadn’t heard of the incident. Ohio State put Meyer under investigation after Courtney Smith went public, giving a reporter text messages and pictures she traded with Meyer’s wife, Shelley Meyer, in 2015.

Drake, the Ohio State president, is rarely in the public spotlight, unlike his predecessor, Gordon Gee, who prided himself on his reputation as a fast-talking, ubiquitous, and sports-loving Ohio State fanatic.

Drake surprised Ohio State fans in 2014 when he fired the school’s marching band director after an investigation uncovered band traditions and rituals that were racy, raunchy or suggestive.

The band director, Jonathan Waters, said he had been trying to change many of the activities before he was terminated, but Drake stood his ground despite intense criticism over the firing. He and the university insisted that Waters controlled the band at the time of the probe and was answerable for all of its practices, even those that evolved out of old traditions.


Associated Press writer Andrew Welsh-Huggins contributed to this report.


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“Lowering of the head” penalties confound Broncos, players across the league

“Lowering of the head” penalties confound Broncos, players across the league

21/08/2018, Denver, Multi Sports, Denver Post Publication, Article # 27546337

Broncos cornerback Isaac Yiadom charged toward Bears’ tight end Adam Shaheen just as he caught the football in Saturday’s preseason game against Chicago. At that point, countless hours of practice became second nature in making the stop.

“I was in coverage and had a 6-7, 250 (pound) tight end running at me, so I’m just going to hit him low,” Yiadom told The Denver Post after practice Monday. “I’m never going to try and hit with my head because I’m not trying to hurt myself or anybody else.”

The tape doesn’t lie. Yiadom dove low and connected his right shoulder pad with Shaheen’s left shoulder pad and the Bears’ beefy pass catcher tumbled to the grass. A textbook tackle — had Yiadom made it last year. Seconds later, a flag sailed through the air, and the biggest headache across the NFL this preseason made its presence felt in the Mile High City.

A personal foul for “lowering the head and initiating contact” resulted in a 15-yard penalty and an automatic Chicago first-down, a new rule instituted for the 2018 season.

More than 48 hours later, Yiadom still shook his head.

“I lowered my shoulder and had to try and hit him low. Then they threw the flag,” Yiadom said. “There’s nothing much I can do about it. I understand they’re trying to protect the players, but they’re going a little overboard this year with it.”

Prior to the Colts-Ravens game Monday night, 47 personal fouls for lowering the head and initiating contact had been assessed through 32 preseason games. And, Yiadom is not alone in feeling too many flags are being tossed.

49ers cornerback Richard Sherman called the rule’s enforcement “idiotic.” Minnesota coach Mike Zimmer told local reporters that, “It’s going to cost some people some jobs.” Even Broncos defensive end Derek Wolfe got on Twitter to vent:

“It’s really gray right now,” Broncos coach Vance Joseph said. “I think they’re calling it conservatively because they want to get it right and they want to change the behavior. But the problem I’m having with the call right now is it’s been bang-bang plays and it’s hard to tell if the head is hitting the body. And that’s the rule. If the head’s down and it hits the body, that’s the penalty.

“Isaac’s head was down, but it didn’t hit the body — it was placed to the side of the receiver and it was shoulder on the body. Not a foul. … But it’s hard to tell because you tackle with your shoulder and it’s led by the head. It’s hard to officiate that really cleanly so we’ll see how it shakes out.”

Joseph added that “common sense” must prevail in the regular season when the ramifications for all calls escalate.

Dating back to organized team activities, Broncos players have practiced helmets-up tackling techniques to avoid lowering-of-the-head penalties. That will continue, no matter what calls are made on game day.

“I see that’s going to be a huge problem this year just because the NFL is so violent,” Broncos cornerback Chris Harris said. “It’s so hard to slow down. Someone runs a slant down the middle of the field, it’s hard to tell a safety to slow down and not try to kill that guy. It’s going to be a huge impact.”
Redskins reach deal with Adrian Peterson, former NFL MVP, to fill void at running back

Redskins reach deal with Adrian Peterson, former NFL MVP, to fill void at running back

21/08/2018, Denver, Multi Sports, Denver Post Publication, Article # 27545527

ASHBURN, Va. — The Washington Redskins addressed their running back woes by adding a big-name veteran on Monday: Seven-time Pro Bowler Adrian Peterson. According to a source with knowledge of the situation, the 33-year-old running back is expected to officially sign a one-year deal, pending a physical.

Peterson spent 10 seasons in Minnesota before splitting time in New Orleans and Arizona during 2017. The former 1,000-yard rusher signed a two-year deal with the Saints but was traded to the Cardinals on Oct. 10 and was released at the end of the season. But despite his accolades — Peterson, a four-time all pro selection and 2012 NFL MVP, is 12th on the all-time rushing yards list — he remained unsigned after posting only 529 rushing yards in 10 games last year.

But after working out for the Redskins on Monday, “AP” is set to be in D.C., at least for one season.

Roughly two hours before news of Peterson’s imminent signing broke, the Redskins’ second-round pick, rookie running back Derrius Guice, tweeted a photo from a Florida hospital, where he’s set to undergo knee surgery. The promising playmaker tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee in the first quarter of the Redskins’ preseason opener in New England. And over the past two weeks, the position group has been dealt more injury blows.

Samaje Perine (sprained ankle) and Byron Marshall (lower leg) were injured in Washington’s second preseason game against the New York Jets and rookie Martez Carter was waived with an injury designation on Saturday. That left running backs coach Randy Jordan with only three healthy players in practice this past weekend: Rob Kelley, Chris Thompson and Kapri Bibbs.

The organization also hosted former Kansas City Chiefs running back Jamaal Charles and former New York Giants running back Orleans Darkwa for workouts but didn’t sign either player. Following Sunday’s practice, head coach Jay Gruden said he wasn’t looking for a starter, but rather he wanted more depth at the position.

“We want to bring them in to get physicals on them just in case,” Gruden said, when specifically asked of Charles and Peterson. “Like I said, we have had very (unlucky) situations with our running backs with obviously Guice and Marshall and Samaje. If something else happens, we are going to be really, really, really thin. So we just want to make sure we are covering all our bases right now, and we will address it when we feel like we have to.”

Peterson has amassed 12,276 rushing yards in his career and rushed for a career-high 2,097 during his MVP season in 2012. But the veteran has been beset by injuries since then. After rushing for 1,485 yards and 11 touchdowns for the Vikings in 2015, Peterson has gained 601 yards and two touchdowns on the ground in 13 games over the past two seasons.

Washington opens the regular season on the road against Peterson’s former team, the Cardinals, on Sept. 9.
Broncos Briefs: Despite guaranteed salary, Menelik Watson not in plans

Broncos Briefs: Despite guaranteed salary, Menelik Watson not in plans

21/08/2018, Denver, Multi Sports, Denver Post Publication, Article # 27545528

The emergence of other players combined with his pectoral injury led to the Broncos giving up on veteran offensive lineman Menelik Watson. The Broncos informed Watson early Monday they were placing him on injured reserve with the intention of releasing him when he becomes healthy.

Signed to a three-year, $19 million contract in 2017, Watson’s 2018 salary of $5.5 million became guaranteed when he remained on the roster in March.

According to the industry website Over The Cap, the Broncos will have “dead cap” hits of $6.83 million this year and $1.33 million in 2019 due to the move. Watson started seven games at right tackle last year before being sidelined by a foot injury. The Broncos traded for Jared Veldheer in the offseason to play right tackle, moving Watson to right guard.

On Monday coach Vance Joseph praised the play of backups Elijiah Wilkinson and Billy Turner.

“It was more about Billy and Eli and Max Garcia is having a heckuva camp and playing like a starter,” Joseph said. “It was more about those guys than (Watson) not being a fit.”

Watson split first-team right guard snaps with Connor McGovern during organized team activities, but McGovern took hold of the spot when camp started. Garcia could make the team because he can play left guard if Ron Leary is injured. Turner and Wilkerson can work at tackle and guard, which helps their chances.

Keenum’s lament. Quarterback Case Keenum said he found the reason why he was off target on multiple throws against Chicago.

“For me, mechanically, I need my feet to get better,” Keenum said. “I was a little unsettled in the pocket at times and it caused a few balls to sail when we had a few guys open. Looking back, my feet weren’t as good as they normally are in the pocket.”

Keenum also took blame for the one time he was sacked.

“That was on me,” Keenum said. “I could have had better feet in the pocket; I (should) have slid, gotten off my first read, got on down the road and (had) the ball out of my hands.”

Joseph encouraged. The improved play by the starting offense and defense, but also roster-wide gave Joseph reason to be pleased with the Broncos showing Saturday night against the Bears.

“After really watching the tape, I was really impressed with our guys,” he said. “We didn’t win the game and that’s always the most important thing, but we made a lot of progress offensively and defensively. Offensively, we got off to a better start and scored some points. Defensively, I was impressed with our guys stopping the run. It was a nice sign.”

Cravens still out. Safety Su’a Cravens remains out with a sore knee. He has not practiced since July 31.

“He had a setback about a week ago but he’s actually getting better after this weekend,” Joseph said. “His next step is to get back to the practice field before he plays in a game.

“He’s a guy that joined us in the spring and the position he plays is the ‘dime backer,’ spot, which is a critical spot for us so absolutely he has to play eventually so we can see what we’ve got in him.”

Will Parks has taken advantage of Cravens’ absence to play the third safety in the Broncos’ dime (six defensive backs) package.

Injury report. Besides Cravens, tight end Troy Fumagalli (groin), center Sam Jones (back), guard J.J. Dielman (knee) and cornerbacks Marcus Rios (leg) and Michael Hunter (migraines) did not practice. Parks (knee contusion) did not participate in team drills but did half-field sprints. Cornerback Chris Harris (oblique) and receiver Demaryius Thomas (wrist) practiced after missing the Chicago game….Joseph on punt returner/receiver Isaiah McKenzie, who fumbled after a reception late against the Bears.  “I want him to remain confident. He’s done some really good stuff. I don’t want him to go in the tank because of one play. He’s got to continue to push and compete and right now, he’s in a good spot. I wouldn’t want him to take a step back.” … On the Broncos’ unofficial depth chart, Chad Kelly remained the No. 2 quarterback.

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Mike Tirico is the new host of “Football Night In America”

Mike Tirico is the new host of “Football Night In America”

21/08/2018, Denver, Multi Sports, Denver Post Publication, Article # 27545220

NEW YORK — Mike Tirico is adding to his many duties at NBC by taking over as studio host for “Football Night In America.”

Tirico, who also does play by play on Notre Dame games and a slew of other hosting assignments, replaces Dan Patrick. Tirico joins Tony Dungy and Rodney Harrison on the Sunday night program that has been the most-watched studio show in sports since 2006.

For the past two seasons, Tirico co-hosted “Football Night In America” from the game site. That role will now be filled by Liam McHugh.

NBC’s first regular-season telecast actually will be on a Thursday when the schedule kicks off with Super Bowl champion Philadelphia hosting Atlanta on Sept. 6. The opening prime-time Sunday nighter is Chicago at Green Bay on Sept. 9.
UFC’s 25th anniversary card in Denver adds two more fights

UFC’s 25th anniversary card in Denver adds two more fights

21/08/2018, Denver, Multi Sports, Denver Post Publication, Article # 27545071

A pair of fights between up-and-coming prospects has been added to the Nov. 10 UFC Denver Fight Night card.

Mike Trizano, who won the latest season of “The Ultimate Fighter” in July, is going to take on Luis Pena in a lightweight bout. Trizano (7-0) won a split-decision over Joe Giannetti to win the show’s lightweight tournament. Pena (5-0) was also on the show but suffered a foot injury in the quarterfinals.

Also added is a fight between light heavyweights Alonzo Menifield and Saparbeg Safarov. Menifield (7-0) earned a contract on Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series after beating DaShawn Boatwright with an eight-second technical knockout. Safarov (8-2) began his mixed-martial arts career undefeated but has lost his two matches since joining the UFC in December 2016.

The event marks the 25th anniversary of UFC 1, which took place Nov. 12, 1993 at Denver’s McNichols Sports Arena.

UFC Fight Night card
Colorado State working on contingency plan in case Mike Bobo can’t coach season opener

Colorado State working on contingency plan in case Mike Bobo can’t coach season opener

21/08/2018, Denver, Multi Sports, Denver Post Publication, Article # 27544445

FORT COLLINS — Mike Bobo is still sidelined.

With season opener against Hawaii awaiting Colorado State at 5:30 p.m. Saturday, the question of whether the Rams’ head coach will be in attendance remains unanswered. Athletic director Joe Parker said Monday that Bobo remains in the hospital and that contingency plans are starting to be worked out in case Bobo is unable to coach this week.

CSU offensive coordinator Dave Johnson said that it hasn’t been finalized who would call plays should Bobo not be in attendance Saturday.

Bobo, 44, was hospitalized following CSU’s scrimmage at Canvas Stadium on Aug. 11 when he was feeling numbness in his feet, a sensation he had mentioned throughout camp. He released a statement Wednesday that said he was receiving a multi-day treatment for peripheral neuropathy, a common diagnosis of pain and numbness in the hands and feet caused by nerve damage; it’s often linked to diabetes. Bobo has been transferred to a hospital in Denver.

During his hospitalization, Bobo, who had knee surgery following spring camp, has remained in close contact with CSU’s assistant coaches and has watched practice film. Practices have been following the same roadmap they had been before the coach’s absence and have been led as a joint-effort by the staff rather than by one person in particular, though Ronnie Letson is CSU’s assistant head coach.

This story will be updated.
Rockies walked through fire to get themselves square in the playoff chase, put divisional destiny in

Rockies walked through fire to get themselves square in the playoff chase, put divisional destiny in

21/08/2018, Denver, Multi Sports, Denver Post Publication, Article # 27544446

As the Rockies battled their way to a 30-16 record in a historic span that saw them play 46 consecutive games against teams with a better-than-.500 record, there was no easy stretch.

It was a gauntlet of scheduling adversity but the Rockies — red hot coming off a 4-game road sweep of Atlanta entering Tuesday’s homestand opener against the cellar-dwelling Padres — didn’t flinch. At risk of getting buried in June, the Rockies have put themselves in prime position for a playoff push.

“We embrace it,” shortstop Trevor Story Said. “At the end of the day, we want to play against the best. If we can win close games, and win games like we did (in Atlanta), that’s going to be big for us in September and hopefully the playoffs.”

Colorado’s first-ever four-game sweep of the Braves in Atlanta this past weekend was characterized by strong starting pitching and timely hitting. The Rockies rallied late in two of the victories. And prior to that, Colorado split with the defending champion Astros in Houston and took three of four from the Dodgers at home. Their 8-2 mark over their past 10 games has the Rockies just a half-game back of the division-leading Diamondbacks and tied in the wild-card standings.

“When the coaches and I were going through the schedule recently, in a way we thought it was a good thing to play all those teams that are over .500 and in contention because it will really show what we’re all about,” manager Bud Black said. “It was a great test for us, and our guys responded.”

Indeed, Colorado has emerged from a brutal stretch in an advantageous position.

According to Fangraphs, the Rockies’ probability of making the playoffs stands at 44.1 percent — up dramatically from a 5 percent chance at the end of June — while the Dodgers and Diamondbacks have tougher homestretch schedules, with Los Angeles’ remaining opponents’ winning percentage (.609) much higher than Arizona’s (.497) and Colorado’s (.491).

But even if the schedule eases up slightly, the emotions and pressure will only intensify for a Rockies team laden with a mix of veterans and flashy young players.

“From now on, all the way down to the end, it’s going to be a playoff-like atmosphere for every single game,” veteran outfielder Carlos Gonzalez said. “If you want to be in the playoffs and fight for a championship, that’s how it’s got to be. We’ve shown a lot of fight but we’ve got to continue to grow, and be more and more tough as we go down the road.”

Of the Rockies’ 38 remaining games, 26 are against National League West opponents, meaning their playoff destiny — and the possibility of a first division title in franchise history — remains firmly within their control.

“As long as we take care of our business within the remaining divisional series, it’s going to pan out – whether that’s winning the division, which is our obvious goal, or getting a wild card,” reliever Jake McGee said. “Playing well against the Dodgers and D-backs is going to put us where we want to be, and we can go from there.”

Looking ahead

Tyler Anderson of the Colorado Rockies pitches in the first inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers on Aug. 9, 2018 at Coors Field in Denver.
Shaban Athuman, The Denver Post
Tyler Anderson of the Colorado Rockies pitches in the first inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers on Aug. 9, 2018 at Coors Field in Denver.

Padres LHP Robbie Erlin (2-3, 3.33 ERA) at Rockies LHP Tyler Anderson (6-5, 4.39), 6:40 p.m. Tuesday; ATTRM, 850 AM

Anderson has been a solid performer most of the season, but he got roughed up at Houston in his last start, getting tagged for nine runs on seven hits (including three home runs) and three walks over 4 ⅓ innings in Colorado’s 12-1 loss. It was Anderson’s second poor start in his past three games, so he needs to get right for the stretch run. Shortstop Freddy Galvis has hit Anderson hard, batting 7-for-15 with a double. Erlin worked out of the Padres bullpen for much of the season, but with Eric Lauer out with a forearm injury, Erlin has become a fill-in starter. He’s fared well, making three consecutive starts in which he allowed two or fewer earned runs. The lefty got a no-decision in San Diego’s loss to the Angels in his last start, allowing two runs on eight hits while striking out two over six innings. Two Rockies have rocked Erlin. Nolan Arenado is 5-for-10 with a home run, double and five RBIs against him, while Charlie Blackmon is 4-for-8 with a double and a triple. — Patrick Saunders, The Denver Post 

Wednesday: Padres RHP Jacob Nix (1-1, 6.75) at Rockies RHP Jon Gray (9-7, 4.76), 6:40 p.m., ATTRM

Thursday: Padres LHP Joey Lucchesi (6-7, 3.79) at Rockies LHP Kyle Freeland (11-7, 2.96), 1:10 p.m., ATTRM

Friday: Cardinals RHP Miles Mikolas (13-3, 2.80) at Rockies RHP Antonio Senzatela (4-3, 4.47), 6:40 p.m., ATTRM

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