December 13, 2012

Josh Brent has been placed on the reserve/non-football illness list by the Dallas Cowboys, a move that ends his season but allows the defensive tackle to remain with the team.

The move Wednes­day came a day after a memorial service for practice squad player Jerry Brown, Brent’s close friend who was killed in a car accident when police say Brent was driving drunk. Brent is facing charges related to the accident Saturday morning.

Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones says the team wants to be able to stay in contact with Brent, and for the player to stay in contact with teammates. Jones says those things are important.

Dallas signed defensive tackle Brian Schaefering, who was released by Cleveland before this season.

 

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December 06, 2012

By MARIA SUDEKUM  Associated Press

 

The days since Jovan Belcher killed his girlfriend then shot himself in the head have been very difficult for his mother, who said Wednesday that the slayings have not diminished her love for the couple.

Belcher’s mother, Cheryl Shepherd, had been living with the Kansas City Chiefs linebacker and 22-year-old Kasandra Perkins to help care for their 3-month-old daughter, Zoe, and was at the couple’s home Saturday morning when Perkins was shot.

“That’s my son, and I love him,” Shepherd said in a brief telephone conversation Wednesday. “She’s my daughter-in-law, just like my daughter.”

Shepherd declined to say anything more about her son.

Belcher shot Perkins at their Kansas City home then drove with a handgun to Arrowhead Stadium, where he thanked Chiefs general manager Scott Pioli and coach Romeo Crennel for all they had done for him. The men tried to persuade Belcher to put the gun down, but when police arrived, Belcher moved behind a vehicle in the practice facility's parking lot, knelt down and shot himself in the head, police said.

Shepherd, 54, said she was not happy about the release of recordings of the emergency phone call she made Saturday after Perkins was shot.

“I just got a phone call that they did that, and I don’t appreciate it,” she said. “Right now I don’t want to talk about it.”

In the emergency call, Shepherd begs Perkins to “stay with me” while frantically asking for an ambulance. She tells the dispatcher that Perkins is “still breathing but please hurry. ... They were arguing, please hurry.”

Shepherd also told dispatchers that Perkins was bleeding, “just barely” awake and that it looked as though she was wounded in the back. She said Perkins moved when she spoke to her.

When a police dispatcher asked about Belcher, Shepherd says only: “He left.”

Police arrived at the home about 7:50 a.m. They said in an incident report that they found Perkins’ body on the floor of the master bathroom. She had been shot multiple times.

Shepherd, who has temporary custody of the couple’s baby, said she and Perkins were very close.

“She was a lovely, beautiful young woman. And we had a beautiful relationship,” Shepherd said.

The estate or guardian of Belcher’s 3-month-old daughter will receive more than $1 million under terms of the NFL’s collective-bargaining agreement.

The child stands to receive $108,000 annually over the next four years, $48,000 in the fifth year and then $52,000 each year until age 18. She'll continue to receive that amount until age 23 if she attends college.

The beneficiary of Belcher, who was in his fourth season, also will receive $600,000 in life insurance, plus $200,000 for each credited season. There is also $100,000 in a retirement account that will go to his beneficiary or estate.

Players’ beneficiaries are kept confidential.

Shepherd said family members have been helping her a great deal since the shootings, but that she had trouble eating and sleeping while working on her son’s funeral arrangements.

Mourners, including several Chiefs players, attended an hour-long private memorial service for Belcher December 5 in Kansas City. Retired Chiefs Hall of Famer Bobby Bell said afterward that Pioli and Belcher’s uncle spoke during the service. He said it was “rough” on Pioli.

“This is a sad situation,” Bell said. “You never want to be put under those situations. Never. It’s not good. You don’t want to see things like that. I don’t know how they got through it.”

 

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December 06, 2012

By BRETT MARTEL Associated Press

Kobe Bryant has become the youngest player in NBA history to eclipse 30,000 career points and only the fifth overall to hit that mark.

Bryant entered the elite scoring club during the first half of the Los Angeles Lakers’ game against the New Orleans Hornets. He arrived in New Orleans 13 points short, and scored his 13th and 14th points on a short jumper with 1:16 to go in the first half.

Because the basket came in the flow of play, there was hardly any reaction on the court as Bryant and his teammates ran back on defense.

Bryant is 34. Wilt Chamberlain was 35 when he hit the mark, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Karl Malone were each 36 and Michael Jordan was 38. 

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December 06, 2012

By RACHEL COHEN Associated Press

 

Bo Jackson enjoys going to the supermarket much more these days.

Back when he was a two-sport pro athlete and pop culture star more than two decades ago, the family cook couldn’t do his grocery shopping without being mobbed by fans. Perhaps surprising for a guy who was once everywhere on TV in a classic ad campaign, not everyone knows Bo anymore.

“It really doesn’t bother me that people don’t know who I am,” said Jackson, who turned 50 on Friday. “It’s kind of nice in a way.”

An admittedly private person who long struggled with stuttering, Jackson has taken on a more public persona recently. In the spring, he biked across his native Alabama, recruiting other celebrities to raise money for victims of the 2011 tornados that ravaged the state. Jackson was part of the four-man search committee as his alma mater, Auburn, hired Gus Malzahn as its new football coach December 4.

And he agreed to participate in a documentary about the only man to be selected for both the NFL’s Pro Bowl and baseball's All-Star game.

“You Don't Know Bo,” about the 1985 Heisman Trophy winner, will premiere Saturday December 8 on ESPN after this year’s Heisman ceremony. The title, a play on Nike’s famous “Bo Knows” commercials, was partly inspired by a conversation director Mike Bonfiglio had with his two teenage cousins, both big sports fans. They didn’t know Bo.

“That was a very interesting thing to me, that this guy who was so incredibly famous for a brief period of time — he was one of the most recognizable names and faces in the country,” Bonfiglio said on a recent conference call with Jackson.

But even older fans who vividly remember Jackson’s outrageous athletic feats might not really feel as if they know Bo.

“I think he’s still an enigma,” Bonfiglio said.

Jackson thinks everyone makes his legacy more complicated that it was. Teammates called him a freak of nature, he recalled, but “I’m just being me.” As a kid, he played multiple sports and played them well; the way he sees it, he simply kept doing that as an adult.

“As far as doing the dual sports thing, that was just a way to keep me out of trouble,” he said. “Idle time with me is the devil’s workshop, and if my mother was still alive, she would tell you.”

He played running back for the Los Angeles Raiders and outfield for the Kansas City Royals until injuring his hip in a 1991 NFL playoff game. He briefly returned to baseball after hip replacement surgery.

“Back when I was playing, that was my job,” Jackson said. “I never saw it as, ‘Hey, I’m transcending an era here and I’m a pop icon or whatever or I’m this person.’ I’m not blowing smoke here: I saw what I was doing —it was my job. ... It was my source of employment. It was my way of keeping a roof over my family’s head, putting food on the table for my family.”

Bonfiglio said the film would have gone on even had Jackson declined to participate — and at first it wasn’t clear if he would. But Jackson said he was happy to help as long as it didn’t take too much time from his business commitments.

“What surprised me the most about Bo is what a good story teller he is,” Bonfiglio said. “He’s just really, really eloquent and just spins a good yarn, and he’s fun to listen to.”

Those Nike commercials celebrated Jackson’s versatility as other stars from Michael Jordan to Wayne Gretzky list all the sports Bo knows. As clever as the ads were, Jackson doesn’t consider his fame a marketer's creation.

“You have to perform to get that notoriety,” he said. “You just can’t go and put your name on a shoe and become an overnight sensation. You have to prove it.”

And as normal as Jackson’s feats felt to him, they were extraordinary to the fans following them.

“When people watched the things that he did on the field, it expanded their imaginations,” Bonfiglio said. “When you see something that you don’t think is humanly possible, it makes you dream differently, and that’s what Bo did. When people saw him, it completely captured their imaginations and expanded their consciousness in a way, and that I think is the main reason why he was such a phenomenon that transcended athletics.”

Jackson laughed and interjected: “You could say that.” 

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December 06, 2012

By BRETT MARTEL Associated Press

 

NBA Commissioner David Stern said his $250,000 fine of the San Antonio Spurs was justified because the club went beyond what league owners agreed was a reasonable approach to resting healthy players.

Stern said coaches should have the authority to rest players at the end of the season, but that teams should not rest four starters little more than a month into it, and the team made matters worse by not notifying the league beforehand.

Last week, the Spurs sent home Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili and Danny Green before a game in Miami. Stern points out that Green is 26 and Parker 30, and that he doubted any of the players needed rest this early in the season in what was also their only visit to Miami.

''In the case of San Antonio, they didn't just come into town and rest healthy players, they sent a 26-year-old and a 30-year-old, plus Manu and Tim home virtually under cover of darkness ... and without notifying as our rules require for injury and illness,'' Stern said before watching the Hornets play the Los Angeles Lakers.

Stern said owners discussed resting healthy players at a meeting in April 2010, and that the Spurs would have remembered it.

Spurs coach Gregg Popovich often rested healthy players last season after the lockout and there was no punishment, but Stern decided to act after this game, which was televised nationally by TNT.

''Maybe it's my mistake not to think that injury and illness when you're secreting someone away should also include deciding to move them out,'' Stern said. ''So in all of the circumstances, I thought that if we didn't do something this time, there would never be a reason to do it.

''(It was the Spurs') only visit to Miami, practically the first month of the season. Notifying nobody and sending home young and healthy players merited a rebuke and I did it.''

Stern said the punishment had nothing to do with his feelings about Popovich but solely the actions of the Spurs, who ignored NBA rules that teams must notify the league, opposing team and media when players won't travel because of injury.

They have not appealed the fine.

''This was a team decision,'' Stern said. ''This was not me and Pop. Pop is a great coach, Hall of Fame coach, and this decision was made by the entire senior management of the San Antonio Spurs. And I felt that they were doing what they perceived as their job and I was doing what I presume as my job and that's what happens.

''I would suggest to you if we had been notified it wouldn't have happened, so maybe from their perspective they did the right thing.''

Stern was making a regularly scheduled visit with first-year Hornets owner Tom Benson, who is also the owner of the NFL's Saints, to see how Benson's plans for the NBA franchise were taking shape. Stern visited Saints headquarters, where new construction has begun on additions that will also accommodate Hornets offices and practice courts.

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