Olympic champ accused of assault

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Olympic champ accused of assault

From Comcast SportsNet Thursday, September 8, 2011
UPPER ARLINGTON, Ohio (AP) -- Olympic gymnastics champion Paul Hamm has been accused of hitting and kicking a taxi driver in suburban Columbus, damaging a cab window and refusing to pay a 23 fare. The 28-year-old Hamm can be heard on an Upper Arlington police video telling an officer he'd had about eight drinks, WBNS-TV in Columbus reported. As Hamm sits handcuffed in the back of a cruiser, he asks officers to let him go and says, "I don't understand. I'm gonna kill you guys." Hamm, who is working as an assistant coach at Ohio State while he trains for the London Olympics, is charged with assault and two other misdemeanors. He was charged Saturday and is free on bond awaiting a Sept. 15 arraignment, according to online court records. His agent, Sheryl Shade, declined to comment Wednesday. "We have read about the unfortunate situation involving Paul Hamm in media reports, and we are certainly concerned for Paul," USA Gymnastics President Steve Penny said. "USA Gymnastics will wait for more information before commenting further." Ohio State told the station that officials were aware of the arrest and would determine how to handle the matter after it is dealt with in court. Hamm, who grew up in Waukesha, Wisconsin, is the only American man to win the Olympic (2004) or world (2003) all-around titles. The three-time Olympic medalist missed the Beijing Games with an injury, then got a job in Chicago as a finance trader. But he quit his job last summer and announced a comeback in hopes of making the U.S. team for London. Hamm is recuperating from January shoulder surgery, but is expected to return to competition in February in what would be a boost for the U.S. men's medal hopes. Hamm returned to Ohio State, where he and twin brother Morgan earned their degrees and trained before the Beijing Olympics, earlier this summer as an assistant to new coach Rustam Sharipov. WBNS says a police report shows Hamm had fallen asleep as he was being driven home in the taxi. The taxi driver, identified by the station as Abdinasir Elmi, told a reporter that Hamm had unintentionally locked the cab door and was trying to get out through the window. He said Hamm swore at him and elbowed him in the mouth as he tried to help him open the window. Messages seeking additional details were left with Upper Arlington police spokeswomen.

Jackson, Watson headline five 2016 Heisman finalists

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USATSI/AP

Jackson, Watson headline five 2016 Heisman finalists

NEW YORK -- Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson is a Heisman Trophy finalist for the second consecutive season, joining Louisville quarterback Lamar Jackson, Michigan linebacker Jabrill Peppers and Oklahoma teammates Baker Mayfield and Dede Westbrook.

The finalists were announced Monday on ESPN and the award will be presented Saturday in New York.

Watson finished third in last year's voting, won by Alabama running back Derrick Henry. Just like last year, he heads to New York not as the favorite but as the contender coming on strong at the end. Mayfield finished fourth last season, but did not get an invite to Heisman presentation in New York.

Peppers is the first defensive player to be a Heisman finalists since Notre Dame linebacker Manti Teo was a distant runner-up to Johnny Manziel in 2012.

Westbrook and Mayfield are the first teammates to be finalists since Reggie Bush and Matt Leinart from Southern California finished first and third, respectively in 2005.

Finalists are determined by the margins between vote-getters. The ballots of more than 900 voters, which included former Heisman winners, were due Monday.

Watson entered as the preseason favorite in what looked like a strong field of contenders, but Jackson quickly swept past them all to be front-runner. He was brilliant for the first two months of the season and Louisville was looking like a College Football Playoff contender.

It seemed as if Jackson would be a runaway Heisman winner, but the 15th-ranked Cardinals lost their final two games of the season. He was sacked 11 times in a lopsided loss at Houston and he committed four turnovers in a last-second loss against Kentucky.

Watson, meanwhile, has surged since Clemson's only loss to Pitt in mid-November. He also had the benefit of playing in the Atlantic Coast Conference title game last Saturday and took full advantage of the spotlight. Watson threw three touchdown passes and ran for two scores in a 42-35 victory against Virginia Tech to seal a spot in the College Football Playoff.

The raw numbers still favor Jackson, who is second in the nation in total yards per game (410.7) and has accounted for 51 touchdowns (21 rushing TDs and 30 TD passes) with 13 turnovers (nine INTs and four lost fumbles) in 12 games. Watson averages 341.8 yards per game and has 43 touchdowns (six rushing and 37 passing) with 15 turnovers (all interceptions) in 13 games.

When the two met on Oct. 1 at Clemson in what was one of the season's most entertaining games, Watson threw for 306 yards and five touchdowns, ran for 91 and was picked off three times. Jackson had 295 yards passing, 162 rushing and accounted for three touchdowns with one interception. Clemson won 42-36.

Mayfield and Westbrook have been a dynamic combination, and late in the season No. 7 Oklahoma started a dual campaign to promote both for the Heisman. Mayfield is on pace to break the NCAA record for passer efficiency rating in a season (197.75). Westbrook has 74 catches for 1,465 yards and 16 touchdowns and has more receptions covering at least 20 yards (26) than any receiver in the country.

Peppers played defense, offense and special teams for Michigan, lining up all over the field.

Edwards Jr 'foaming at the mouth' to return to Raiders lineup

Edwards Jr 'foaming at the mouth' to return to Raiders lineup

ALAMEDA – Mario Edwards Jr. hasn’t played football in a long, long time. His last go round came back on Aug. 12, during the Raiders’ preseason opener at Arizona.

He suffered a hip injury and hasn’t been back since. That’s nearly four months now, too long a drought for the young, versatile defensive lineman.

That’s why Monday meant so much. It was just a walk-through practice, nothing too physical, but the act of practicing meant something special after his extended absence.

“It felt good just to get out there with those guys,” Edwards Jr. said Monday evening. “My last time with them was against the Cardinals in the preseason. Even just to get out there in a practice and enjoy the camaraderie definitely was nice.”

Edwards Jr.’s rehab has been slower than originally expected, which has kept him on injured reserve well after he was eligible to practice in Week 7 and play in Week 9. Edwards Jr. wanted to make sure his hip, which he called “a freaky thing,” healed right and was free of setbacks.

While he took a mature approach to his rehab, Sundays proved hard to bear. Watching Raiders games were difficult, even with the team sitting pretty at 10-2 after Sunday’s victory over Buffalo.

That was especially true when the Raiders came back to beat the Carolina Panthers. Defense sealed that victory, with Khalil Mack’s strip sack of Cam Newton and the recovery of his own forced fumble. That proved too much to take. Edwards Jr. started itching to get back on the field.

Now that he’s ever so close to a return, Edwards Jr. has let himself ponder lining up with Mack and Bruce Irvin on third and long, ready to get after the quarterback.

“I’ve been dreaming of that, especially after watching Mack strip Cam and things like that,” Edwards Jr. said. “I just wanted to be out there and be a part of it. I’ve been foaming at the mouth ever since then.”

Edwards Jr. must’ve known he was close to getting back on the field. He was running well on the treadmill prior to that game, and was out on the field shortly after the Panthers win.

The Raiders hope Edwards Jr. can be back in time to play the Chargers in San Diego on Dec. 18. That would give him three regular-season games to ramp up and be fully immersed in the defense should the Raiders make the postseason.

Edwards Jr., however, doesn’t have a set timetable to return.

“I’m a little different, so I don’t really know,” Edwards Jr. said. “We don’t have a date on it. It’s more about how I’m feeling each day and how I’m healing.”

Edwards Jr. called his absence bittersweet – he hasn’t played a regular season game since Dec. 20, when he suffered a neck injury versus Green Bay – but remains forward thinking even missing the season to this point.

“It sucked, but everything happened for a reason,” Edwards Jr. said. “I’m healing up great, and I’m looking forward to coming back and playing.”