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Tuesday, August 23, 2011

-Travis Hafner might need foot surgery - Big Ten goes back to the future - Shock waves from earthquake felt during Indians-Mariners game -

Raiders select QB Pryor in third round of NFL supplemental draft
NAPA, Calif. (AP) -- The Oakland Raiders always have been seduced by size and speed so it came as little surprise that they used a third-round pick Monday in the NFL's supplemental draft to select former Ohio State quarterback Terrelle Pryor.
Pryor's agent, Drew Rosenhaus, said his client was excited about going in the third round after waiting until last Thursday to find out he'd even be eligible for the supplemental draft and not working out for teams until Saturday.
"We're tickled and thrilled that Terrelle went in the third round and to the Raiders," Rosenhaus said. "The third round is quite an accomplishment for a young man who had his pro day 48 hours ago and didn't know he would be in the draft until Thursday morning and wasn't able to meet with any decision makers."
The Raiders used the 18th selection of the third round for Pryor, forfeiting a pick in that round in the 2012 draft.
Pryor immediately headed to the Bay Area after being drafted and Rosenhaus said he hoped to finalize a contract as soon as possible to get Pryor on the practice field. Rosenhaus has already negotiated a third-round deal with the Raiders this summer with rookie cornerback DeMarcus Van Dyke.
BANKS: Same old Raiders
"We're optimistic this will be a smooth negotiation," he said. "We enjoy working with the Raiders and he's very excited."
Pryor will be able to practice immediately after signing and play in the remaining two exhibition games. But he will not be eligible to practice with or play for Oakland during the regular season until the team's sixth game.
While there has been some speculation that Pryor's future could come as a receiver or tight end, Raiders coach Hue Jackson said he views Pryor as a quarterback and he will start his career there.
"The guy had a very storied career at Ohio State," Jackson said. "He can throw it, he can run with it. He's smart, he's tough, he's played in big games. He's another young athlete that we'll add to the mix that plays quarterback and we'll work with him and get this guy to be a good player."
When he was allowed to enter Monday's draft, he was handed a five-game suspension by Commissioner Roger Goodell - the same number of games he would have sat out had he returned to Ohio State. Pryor has said he will not appeal the suspension.
Pryor gave up his final season with the Buckeyes after an investigation into the team's memorabilia-for-cash scandal that cost coach Jim Tressel his job.
His selection by the Raiders hardly is surprising. Oakland often makes bold moves in the draft because owner Al Davis covets size and speed. Pryor ran a 4.36 in the 40 during his workout for 17 NFL teams Saturday. At 6-foot-5 and 232 pounds, he is similar in height to JaMarcus Russell, the LSU quarterback chosen No. 1 overall by the Raiders in the 2007 draft.
But Pryor is much more mobile. As a junior, Pryor had his best season statistically, throwing for 2,772 yards and 27 touchdowns with 11 interceptions. He also ran for 754 yards and four scores while helping the Buckeyes win the Sugar Bowl.
BURKE: No guarantees with Pryor pick
"We all know how Al Davis likes big players who can run and Terrelle brings a dimension of size and speed that's unique to the quarterback position," Rosenhaus said. "The Raiders are a good fit for him because they have had an unsettled quarterback situation for a number of years and have worked in a number of different players. Any young quarterback would like the opportunity to go there and compete and be the guy."
Oakland's starting quarterback is Jason Campbell, now in his second season with the Raiders after being acquired from Washington, where he spent five seasons. Campbell is in the last year of his contract, as are backups Kyle Boller and Trent Edwards.
The Raiders considered drafting a quarterback to groom for the future in April but did not find the right fit. Now they have Pryor to fill that role.
Pryor said he's thankful for the opportunity to play in the NFL.
"The type of guy that you're getting is a competitive guy, a feisty guy that wants to win and will do anything to win," he told the NFL Network. "Work hard and a person that is just opportunistic. I'm just waiting for an opportunity and when I get it, I'm going to have success."
Pryor will be joined by a former teammate when he signs with the Raiders. Oakland had drafted cornerback Chimdi Chekwa in the fourth round in April and Chekwa gave Pryor a glowing review.
"He was a guy who can make the throws on the football field," Chekwa said. "He also has that threat of scrambling and running. When we needed a big play in college, he made that play. When we went against him in practice, first-team offense versus first-team defense, we had to spy him, do different things. He makes you have to account for the quarterback running."
Oakland is now without picks in the second, third and fourth rounds next year. The Raiders traded the 2012 second-round pick along with a 2011 seventh-round selection for third- and fourth-round picks this past draft to take offensive lineman Joe Barksdale and running back Taiwan Jones. They sent their fourth-round pick a year ago to the Redskins for Campbell.
Oakland could recoup some picks as compensation for losing Nnamdi Asomugha, Zach Miller and Robert Gallery as free agents.
No other players were chosen in the draft. Also eligible were former Georgia running back Caleb King, former Northern Illinois safety Tracy Wilson, former Western Carolina cornerback Torez Jones, former Lindenwood University defensive end Keenan Mace, and former North Carolina defensive end Mike McAdoo.

Shock waves from earthquake felt during Indians-Mariners game

CLEVELAND (AP) -- Shock waves from an earthquake on the East Coast made the press box sway slightly and sent some fans toward the exits during the first game of a doubleheader between the Indians and Seattle Mariners.
As the Mariners were batting in the fourth inning Tuesday, the press box high above home plate and the third-base line moved left and right and continued for nearly 30 seconds. Fans sitting in the upper deck at Progressive Field noticed the unusual movement, and weren't sure what was happening.
"It went on for at least a minute," said Betsy Hammond, who was attending the game with her husband, Tim, and their three children. "We were looking around and someone stood up and yelled, 'Is that an earthquake?' Then someone who works here came over and said they heard it on the radio."
Play was not interrupted on the field. The Indians reported no structural damage to the 43,000-seat ballpark.
The Hammonds were celebrating their son Liam's 10-year-old birthday with his first game -- one he'll never forget.
"My first thought was, 'That's weird, I can't move this seat,"' Tim Hammond said. "I thought it was the wind. I know the stadium is made to move, but I didn't know what was moving it. I was thinking maybe they blew something up on that movie set. A lot of people got up and were like 'We're out of here."'
Filming for "The Avengers" is taking place on East 9th Street near the ballpark.
The 5.8 magnitude earthquake centered northwest of Richmond, Va., shook much of Washington and was felt as far north as Rhode Island and New York City.
"The odd thing was that it went on for a long time," Betsy Hammond said. "Then, the longer it went on, the more I wondered what was happening."

Big Ten goes back to the future
good article from pat forde espn.com

The operative theme in the Big Ten in 2011 is change. But one throwback element to the league that should appeal to fans still nostalgically attached to the 1970s glory days.
Running quarterbacks.
Denard Robinson finished fourth in the nation in rushing yards per game last season.Back in the Bo and Woody days, the Big Ten had an array of mobile quarterbacks -- Michigan's Rick Leach and Ohio State's Cornelius Greene were both 2,000-yard career rushers on great teams. Charlie Baggett ran for more than 1,700 yards in three seasons at Michigan State. Minnesota had an athletic quarterback who went on to play defensive back in the NFL -- a guy named Tony Dungy.
But even that mid-'70s bunch is nothing compared to what the conference will put on the field this fall. The Big Ten has become the dual-threat capital of college football.
Thanks to the arrival of Nebraska, the league has the nation's top three returning quarterbacks in rushing: Denard Robinson of Michigan (131 yards per game), Taylor Martinez of the Cornhuskers (74 yards per game) and Nathan Scheelhaase of Illinois (67). They combined for more than 3,500 rushing yards and 31 rushing touchdowns last year.
But it hardly stops there.
Northwestern returns Dan Persa, its second-leading rusher in 2010 and top scorer on the ground with nine touchdowns. Russell Wilson, a career 1,000-yard rusher in three seasons at North Carolina State, steps in as the new quarterback at Wisconsin. Minnesota is turning over the position to MarQueis Gray, who was primarily a wide receiver last year.
Purdue probably will start Robert Marve but also use dual-threat QB Rob Henry, who ran for more than 500 yards last year when thrust into the lineup by Marve's knee injury. Iowa's James Vandenberg is no scrambler, but he replaces an equally immobile Ricky Stanzi. Whoever gets the job at Indiana will be more elusive than Ben Chappell (though less accomplished as a passer, too). If Edward Wright-Baker or freshman Tre Roberson is the starter, either will be a legit dual threat.
The only Big Ten teams that appear to be getting less dangerous on the ground at quarterback are Ohio State (which lost 2,000-yard rusher Terrelle Pryor) and Penn State (which saw its best running quarterback, Kevin Newsome, transfer). But both will still run the ball from that position, especially if freshman Braxton Miller wins the job for the Buckeyes and Rob Bolden wins it for the Nittany Lions.
The exception to the leaguewide trend is Michigan State's Kirk Cousins, who has lost more yards than he's gained through three seasons as a Spartan. But he throws it plenty well enough to make up for his lack of wheels.
Ten years ago, Antwaan Randle El of Indiana was just about the only Big Ten quarterback running with regularity. Now it's the '70s all over again, and the runners are everywhere.
"I think it's a special league for quarterbacks," Persa said. "You've got a lot of talented players."
Bo Pelini knows a challenge when he sees one. Last year in the Big 12, the Nebraska coach had the only quarterback who finished among the top 15 rushers in the league. This year, defending that kind of quarterback will be a part of the game plan almost weekly.
Year of the Quarterback ESPN has dedicated 2011 to examining one of the most crucial positions in all of sports -- the quarterback.
Year of the QB »
"You've obviously got to account for the quarterback in the running game and how he's going to affect you," Pelini said. "It's hard. It creates more stress on your defense. You've got to worry about your rush lanes.
"I feel like we do well against mobile quarterbacks. But let's face the fact, it's not easy to do."
If anything can make Big Ten defensive coordinators feel better about slowing down all the run-pass quarterbacks, it's that some of the best might not be running as much as they did last year.
At Michigan, a change of offense from spread to something more West Coast-ish figures to keep Robinson in the pocket more often. At least that's the plan, and Robinson says he's OK with that. But he was a Rich Rodriguez recruit for a reason, and that reason is his ability to make defenders miss on the run. So don't expect Tom Brady back there.
"We're smart enough to have elements he does well from what he did in the past in the spread in our offense," new Michigan coach Brady Hoke said.
And there is always the option to freelance.
"A broken play," Robinson said, "is always part of the game."
At Northwestern and Nebraska, the motivation for fewer quarterback keepers is to keep the starter on the field all season.
Martinez was banged up for much of 2010, missing two games in the second half of the season. After racking up five 100-yard rushing games in the first seven, he ran for a total of 95 yards in the final seven.
Persa blew out his Achilles in the 10th game of the season and missed the final three. Even before that major injury, he was a beaten man from all the running he did.
Minnesota QB MarQueis Gray is expected to do big things with his legs this season."The hits really wore on me toward the end of the year," Persa said. "It was tough; I'm not going to lie. I was beat up. It kind of got old waking up Sunday and thinking, 'I can't walk.' I felt like I got hit by a train sometimes.
"But a lot of it was my fault. A lot of hits I could have avoided. After the second or third game, the coaches were on me to slide more and get rid of the ball."
Given the altered approaches in Ann Arbor, Lincoln and Evanston, the guy who might emerge as the most dangerous runner in the league is Gray. His new coach, Jerry Kill, let QB Chandler Harnish run it 344 times the past three years at Northern Illinois, and he loves what he sees out of Gray.
"Without a doubt the most gifted athlete on our squad is MarQueis," Kill said. "If MarQueis would have had a lot of quarterback reps, I think it would be scary where he's at right now because he's so athletically gifted.
"I remember recruiting MarQueis out of high school. We weren't in it very long because we were at Northern Illinois, and we weren't going to get him. But he throws the ball very well, much better than what people understand. I think our big key is how we are going to utilize his talents at quarterback."
If the coaches at Minnesota are smart, they'll utilize his legs. Just like almost everyone else in the Big Ten in a back-to-the-future season at quarterback.

Travis Hafner might need foot surgery
Surprise! Surprise!!
CLEVELAND -- Cleveland Indians designated hitter Travis Hafner might need season-ending surgery on his right foot.
Indians trainer Lonnie Soloff said Tuesday that surgery is among the options the team is exploring for Hafner, who was placed on the 15-day disabled list Monday. He is wearing a walking boot after an MRI showed a strained tendon in the bottom of the foot.
Soloff said a decision would be made in the next two days. The Indians entered Tuesday's doubleheader against Seattle tied for second in the AL Central with the White Sox, 5½ games behind Detroit.
Hafner has been playing with pain since injuring the foot on a slide in April. He aggravated the injury running the bases Sunday against Detroit after getting a single, a hit that broke an 0-for-16 slump.
Hafner is hitting .281 with 11 homers and 49 RBIs in 82 games.

New Coach's Records Perdiction
• Luke Fickell, Ohio State: As if succeeding one of the most successful coaches in school history isn't hard enough, Fickell also has to break in a new quarterback (either senior Joe Bauserman or highly touted true freshman Braxton Miller) following the early exit of Terrelle Pryor and will be without suspended starters Dan Herron, DeVier Posey and Mike Adams for the season's first five games. A senior-depleted defense must reload, too. Even a program as stacked as OSU isn't immune to a down year. Predicted 2011 record: 8-4.

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