LSU starting QB, other players to meet with police

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LSU starting QB, other players to meet with police

From Comcast SportsNet Tuesday, August 23, 2011
BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) -- LSU starting quarterback Jordan Jefferson and three of his teammates have decided to meet with police at an undisclosed time and location Tuesday. Police Sgt. Don Stone announced Monday night that the meeting would take place and said authorities are keeping the details secret to ensure "the integrity of the investigation is not hampered or disturbed." Police have asked Jefferson, along with offensive lineman Chris Davenport, defensive lineman Josh Johns and receiver Jarvis Landry, to offer their recollection of last Thursday night's fight. Four people were injured in the scuffle, none of them players, and one person's injuries were serious enough that two players could face felony battery charges, Stone said. He said two other players could be charged with misdemeanor simple battery. He declined to say which two players could face the more serious charges. Earlier Monday, defense attorney Nathan Fisher, who is representing the four LSU players, had said he was not aware of an impending meeting between his clients and police. However, that changed after authorities agreed to a new meeting location. Investigators initially asked the players to come to police headquarters on Monday morning, but that was delayed after the players hired Fisher, who is known for representing LSU players in the past. Stone said such delays are standard when people of interest in investigations hire attorneys. Stone also stressed that Police Chief Dewayne White is not giving LSU players any special treatment and the investigation of the fight will continue with or without players' cooperation. "These guys aren't going anywhere, they're not a flight risk. It's not like we don't know where they're at," Stone said. "It's not like we're sitting around waiting for them. We still have witnesses to interview. ... And if it reaches the point to where the evidence supports the allegations, we'll obtain arrest warrants for the persons responsible. And if it's these four football players, they'll be arrested and booked into the East Baton Rouge Parish jail." Witnesses have described one of the victims being kicked in the head while lying on the ground, Stone said. He declined to specify who did the kicking or who got kicked. LSU practiced Monday evening, but university officials said none of the players who have been named in the investigation would be made available to the media. Players who did talk to reporters were instructed not to answer any questions about their memories of what happened at the bar not far from campus. The players were out after a curfew imposed by the coaching staff when the fight took place. However, LSU athletics spokesman Michael Bonnette said players traditionally conclude fall camp, which this year ended last Thursday, by socializing together after curfew. Bonnette said that tradition has spanned the tenures of a number of coaches. Nonetheless, coach Les Miles has said the allegations surrounding the fight have made him "miserable," and the entire team has been punished with additional conditioning during practice, such as running. Miles also said more punishment would be forthcoming as more details of the investigation were revealed. As of Monday night, though, no players had been suspended. The fourth-ranked Tigers open the season against No. 3 Oregon on Sept. 3 at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas. Jefferson was expected to be the starting quarterback, but if he cannot play, fellow senior Jarrett Lee would be the likely starter behind center, with junior college transfer Zach Mettenberger next in line. Lee, who has been taking some snaps with the first team since before the alleged fracas, said there were not any substantial changes to the practice routine on Monday and Jefferson continued to also receive his regular work with the starters. "Nothing changed. Practice was the same. We had a great practice today," Lee said. "All of us quarterbacks, we know to be good you have to prepare each and every day to be the starter, whether your opportunity comes or not, so we're going to continue to work hard." "It's an unfortunate situation," Lee added. "You never want something like this to happen to your football team. We're family. We're a close-knit group. Things like this happen. ... All the great teams have their ups and downs. It's about how you bounce back and we're going to stay positive and keep working hard." Lee has been teammates with Jefferson for the past three seasons, and said he did not see any noticeable difference in Jefferson's demeanor. "He's a great guy, great friend," Lee said. "He's still working hard, still practicing hard, still laughing in the film room." Stone said Jefferson, Davenport, Johns and Landry are currently the only people of interest in the case, but added that investigators are still interviewing witnesses and that more players could have been involved. Authorities have obtained security video from a business neighboring the bar, which is in a strip mall just south of campus. Stone declined to talk about what the video shows. Fisher, meanwhile, said he did not want to discuss the facts of the case in the media. Fisher did say he believes Stone has made several inaccurate statements, but declined to specify. Currently, police are aware of only four alleged victims whose names they have not released. The four were treated at a hospital and released. Three had minor injuries and a fourth had the more serious injury that would warrant the second-degree battery charges, Stone said. The victims have hired an attorney, Michael Bienvenue, and have indicated they want to press charges, Stone said. Bienvenue did not return a phone message left at his office.

Santiago Casilla signs, but who will close for the A's?

Santiago Casilla signs, but who will close for the A's?

Santiago Casilla says he’s returning to his baseball home, which requires only a trip across the Bay Bridge.

The A’s finalized a two-year $11 million contract with the former Giants closer Friday, adding him to a bullpen that has no shortage of late-inning relief options for manager Bob Melvin.

“There’s an old saying that it’s always good to return home, and I’m very happy to get this new opportunity with the Athletics,” Casilla said on a media conference call, via interpreter Manolo Hernandez Douen.

It’s “new” in that the 36-year-old Casilla spent the past seven seasons wearing black and orange. But his major league career is rooted in Oakland. The A’s signed him out of the Dominican Republic as an amateur free agent back in 2000, and he spent his first six seasons with Oakland, the first two of those pitching under the name Jairo Garcia.

He’s since won three World Series rings with the Giants, including notching four saves during the 2014 postseason. His final season with San Francisco ended on a sour note last year, however, as he was demoted from the closer’s role during a rough September.

What role will he find in 2017?

Casilla, who reportedly can earn up to $3 million in incentives based on games finished, joins three other relievers in the A’s ‘pen who have legitimate big league closer’s experience — John Axford, Sean Doolittle and Ryan Madson. Doolittle was the closer entering last spring but shoulder problems derailed him for a second consecutive season. Madson handled the ninth for most of 2016 and notched 30 saves, but general manager David Forst made it clear Friday that the Opening Night closer has yet to be determined.

“We had a number of different guys save games last year,” Forst said. “… Santiago saved almost 80 games the last couple years. He’s got a lot of experience. As we talked to him and his representatives, he made it clear he’s willing to do anything. It’s great for Bob to have a number of options. It’ll sort itself out in spring training as to who the guy is to start the season.”

Doolittle, Axford, Ryan Dull and Zach Neal combined for 12 saves last season. But even though the A’s are fully stocked with ninth-inning options, it’s fair to question whether any of them is a clear-cut answer for the closer’s role as spring training nears.

Madson’s seven blown saves tied for second most in the American League. Doolittle hasn’t pitched a full season since 2014. Axford issued 4.11 walks per nine innings last year, and Dull’s biggest strength is his ability escape jams when entering mid-inning.

Casilla went 2-5 with a 3.57 ERA and 31 saves last season, striking out a career-best 10.1 per nine innings, but there was some turbulence. He was displeased with Giants manager Bruce Bochy last May after being pulled from a game. Then he struggled mightily in September and lost the closer’s role. Bochy didn’t call on him at all as the bullpen coughed up a ninth-inning lead to the Cubs in Game 4 of the NL Division Series that ended the Giants’ season. That decision had Casilla in tears after the game.

Asked Friday if he harbored any hard feelings toward the Giants, Casilla replied: “It’s a new year, a new team. I have left this in the past.”

Forst pointed to Casilla’s sustained velocity — his fastball averaged 93.6 miles per hour last season — and his expanded repertoire over his career as reasons why the A’s went after him.

“His numbers were really good — 65 strikeouts, 19 walks,” Forst said. “As we got through the offseason I think we thought he was being overlooked a little bit just because of the narrative surrounding his departure with the Giants. I wasn’t around and I don’t know what went on, but it seems like a few blown saves marred what otherwise was a fantastic season for him.”

In other news, the A’s signed veteran outfielder Alejandro De Aza to a minor league deal with an invitation to major league spring training. Forst noted De Aza’s ability to play all three outfield spots and his speed as traits that caught the A’s attention.

Report: 49ers increase offer to Bradley to become D-coordinator

Report: 49ers increase offer to Bradley to become D-coordinator

The 49ers reportedly continue to pursue Gus Bradley to serve as defensive coordinator on presumptive coach Kyle Shanahan’s staff.

The 49ers have increased their offer to Bradley, Mike Siliver of the NFL Network reported on Friday. Bradley wanted to work with Tom Cable, according to the report.

Cable interviewed with the 49ers on Sunday but removed his name from consideration on Tuesday after he and Seattle co-director of player personnel Trent Kirchner sensed their 49ers’ interest in them intended to receive a commitment from Shanahan, sources told CSNBayArea.com.

Bradley served as defensive coordinator with the Seattle Seahawks from 2009 to ’12. In Bradley’s final season on Pete Carroll’s staff, Seattle ranked first in the NFL in points allowed and fourth in total yards.

Bradley became head coach of the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2013. His teams went 14-48 before he was fired with two games remaining in the season.

The 49ers this week inquired with the Chicago Bears about the possibility of bringing back Vic Fangio to the organization to serve as defensive coordinator. The 49es were informed, according to a source, that the Bears would not let Fangio out of his contract. Fangio was the defensive coordinator for all four seasons with the 49ers under Jim Harbaugh.