NFL plans "American spirit" tributes for 911

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NFL plans "American spirit" tributes for 911

From Comcast SportsNet Thursday, September 1, 2011
NEW YORK (AP) -- The NFL will salute "the American spirit" during its games on the first full day of the season, Sept. 11. Pregame tributes will be synchronized on CBS and Fox telecasts and shown on videoboards in each stadium hosting games. Coaches, players and local first responders will hold field-length American flags for the playing of the national anthem. The league said in a release Thursday it hopes to "unite fans to recognize those who lost their lives, honor the families who lost loved ones, and salute the American spirit, the early responders on 911, and other heroes that contributed to the nation's recovery." The ceremonies will include a video introduction, followed by performances of "Taps" from near the sites of the attacks, and moments of silence. For the early afternoon games, "Taps" will be performed in Shanksville, Pa., while the late-afternoon games will feature a rendition from Arlington National Cemetery outside of Washington. One of the eight early games has Baltimore hosting Pittsburgh. Each team is based about 80 miles from Shanksville, where Flight 93, one of the hijacked planes, crashed nearly 10 years ago. A late game features the Giants against the Redskins in Landover, Md., not far from where a plane crashed into the Pentagon in Washington that day. The Sunday night game will include a performance from Hoboken, N.J., looking across the Hudson River toward ground zero. That game between Dallas and the Jets will be played in the New Jersey Meadowlands. Players, coaches and sideline personnel will wear an NFL 911 ribbon as a patch or pin on their uniforms and sideline apparel. All stadiums hosting games on Sept. 11 will feature the ribbon logo on the field. Earlier this week, the league and the NFL Players Association announced they will contribute 1 million to three memorials and two charities related to the events of Sept. 11, 2001. They will contribute 500,000 to the 911 Museum & Memorial in Manhattan, and 250,000 to be divided between the Flight 93 National Memorial in Shanksville, and the Pentagon Memorial Fund in Washington. The league and union also will donate all proceeds from the sale of auction items from Sept. 11 games to Tuesday's Children and MyGoodDeed. Tuesday's Children provides support and services to those who lost a loved one on Sept. 11, as well as to rescue and recovery workers who responded to the events. MyGoodDeed is the principle organizer of the Sept. 11 national day of service and remembrance.

On eve of return to SF, Romo shares reception he expects from Giants fans

On eve of return to SF, Romo shares reception he expects from Giants fans

For nine seasons, Sergio Romo called San Francisco home.

On Monday, the 34-year-old reliever makes his first trip back to AT&T Park wearing Dodger blue.

What kind of reception does Romo expect to receive from Giants fans? The three-time World Series champion addressed that while talking to reporters before the Dodgers' game in Arizona on Sunday.

"I don’t expect them to boo. I do expect them to know I’m not on their side anymore," Romo said according to Orange Country Register beat writer Bill Plunkett.

Romo hopes that Giants fans will remember the three Commissioner's Trophies he helped bring to San Francisco.

"I don’t know what to expect. What I’m hoping for is that people remember what I did and understand I didn’t leave them out of spite," Romo said.

After spending most of the offseason unsigned, Romo inked a one-year, $3 million deal with the Dodgers in February. In seven appearances this season, Romo has a 11.81 ERA in 5.1 innings.

 

Lynch outcome should determine whether Raiders draft a running back

Lynch outcome should determine whether Raiders draft a running back

It’s officially NFL draft week. Marshawn Lynch still isn’t a Raider.

A contract impasse remained as of Sunday morning, a few days before general manager Reggie McKenzie’s desire for a by-Thursday resolution.

Deadlines, even soft ones, prompt deals. But Marshawn is unique, adding a level of uncertainty to procedings. 

The Raiders would prefer Lynch agree to terms on a new contract so they can acquire his rights from Seattle -- that’s the easier part – and know where they stand heading into the NFL Draft.

McKenzie left several doors cracked during a Friday pre-draft presser, saying Lynch’s presence wouldn’t stop him from drafting a rusher, not having the Oakland native wouldn’t guarantee it, and that there’s always a chance Lynch could come later no matter what happens during amateur selection.

Those things could be true. Or, you know, not. McKenzie prefers mystery this time of year.

Bottom line: The Raiders need a bigger back to pair with smaller, yet elusive runners DeAndre Washington and Jalen Richard.

The Raiders want Lynch to fill the void. Ditto for Raider Nation, especially the Oakland state. A few free-agent options remain, including LaGarrette Blount. Or the Raiders could draft a back, something the Raiders have done well in later rounds.

They got Latavius Murray in the sixth round four years back, and he provided quality before changing uniforms this offseason. They got Washington in the fifth last time and pulled Richard from undrafted free agency. They could mine talent again this year. Waiting seems more likely if Lynch is around. 

Quality abounds in this draft class, with several worthy of early selections and talent easily found late. Let’s inspect McKenzie’s draft options at running back, should he need one:

Good fits: It’s hard to see the Raiders looking at a rusher in the first round, considering the draft’s depth at the position and major defensive needs. A first-round talent might be considered in the second. If controversial former Oklahoma rusher Joe Mixon is available following a free fall due to off-field issues described in detail here, a running back might come early.

Tennessee’s Alvin Kamara could be another Day 2 option, an explosive talent who analysts say has wiggle and power to create coveted yards after contact. He could be a three-down back thanks to quality as a receiver.

Odds are, however, the Raiders will look deeper into the draft. Wyoming’s Brian Hill was an excellent college producer who runs strong and might fit well into the Raiders rotation. Round projections vary, but he should be available on Day 3.

Pittsburgh’s James Conner offers great power at 233 pounds. He could run through tacklers and wear down defenses for the Raiders’ shift backs. He's also well known for drive and work ethic. He is projected as a fifth or sixth round pick.

Brigham Young’s Jamaal Williams might offer value and power rushing later in the draft. Clemson’s Wayne Gallman has tackle-breaking ability, but analysts say he isn’t a strong pass protector.