Rodgers brings Lombardi Trophy back to Green Bay

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Rodgers brings Lombardi Trophy back to Green Bay

Feb. 6, 2011
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ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) -- Forget Lombardi on Broadway. Green Bay has the newest Super Bowl hit: Aaron Rodgers.Capping one of the greatestpostseasons for any quarterback, Rodgers led the Packers to their firstNFL championship in 14 years Sunday, 31-25 over the PittsburghSteelers. The Packers reclaimed the Vince Lombardi Trophy, named fortheir legendary coach who won the first two Super Bowls and is makinghis own star turn in New York these days in the play named after him.Rodgers, the game's MVP, thrilled hislegion of Cheesehead fans with a spectacular six-game string thatshould finally erase the bitterness of the Brett Favre separation inGreen Bay. He's now equal with Favre in Super Bowl wins, and heextended the Packers' record of NFL titles to 13, nine before the SuperBowl era."It's what I dreamt about as a little kid watching Joe Montana and Steve Young," Rodgers said, "and we just won the Super Bowl."
The former Cal standout threw for threetouchdowns, two to Greg Jennings, and the Packers (14-6) overcame evenmore injuries, building a 21-3 lead, then hanging on to become thesecond No. 6 seed to win the championship. Coincidentally, the 2005Steelers were the other.
RELATED: Pack backup Nelson steps up in Super Bowl
Rodgers threw for 304 yards,including a 29-yard touchdown to Jordy Nelson, who had nine catches for140 yards to make up for three big drops. Rodgers found Jennings,normally his favorite target, for 21- and 8-yard scores."Wow! It's a great day to be great, baby," Jennings said.Then the favored Packers held on as Pittsburgh (14-5) stormed back."We've been a team that's overcomeadversity all year," Jennings said, who noted injuries to CharlesWoodson and Donald Driver. "Our head captain goes down, emotional inthe locker room. Our No. 1 receiver goes down, more emotions are going,flying in the locker room. But we find a way to bottle it up and exertit all out here on the field."Few teams have been as resourcefulas these Packers, who couldn't wait to touch the trophy honoring theirgreatest coach -- and their title. Several of them kissed it as Cowboysgreat Roger Staubach walked through a line of green and gold."Vince Lombardi is coming back to Green Bay," NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said as the silver prize was handed to the team.After sitting for three seasons,Rodgers took the Packers to two late-season victories just to make theplayoffs as a wild card. Then he guided them to wins at Philadelphia,Atlanta and archrival Chicago before his biggest achievement -- againsta Pittsburgh team ranked second in defense.
CURRAN: Greatness eludes Roethlisberger on final driveThey barely survived a sensationalrally by the Steelers, who still own the most Super Bowl rings -- six ineight tries. But Pittsburgh failed to get its third championship in sixyears with quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. Roethlisberger's seasonbegan with a four-game suspension for violating the NFL's personalconduct policy. It ended with Roethlisberger standing on the sideline,his head down, hands on his hips, feeling something he neverexperienced: defeat in a Super Bowl. "I feel like I let the city ofPittsburgh down, the fans, my coaches and my teammates," Roethlisbergersaid, "and it's not a good feeling."
Not even a decidedly black-and-goldcrowd, with Terrible Towels swirling throughout the 1.2 billionstadium, could make a difference for the mistake-prone Steelers. Theirtwo biggest defensive stars -- Defensive Player of the Year safety TroyPolamalu and outside linebacker James Harrison -- were virtuallyinvisible. The offense didn't seem to miss outstanding rookie centerMaurkice Pouncey, who was out with an ankle injury, but Roethlisbergeronly occasionally made key plays until the second half.
RELATED: Polamaulu, Harrison silent in Super BowlThe biggest plays were left toRodgers, Nick Collins with a 37-yard interception return for a TD,Jennings, Nelson, and the rest of the guys in green and gold. In theend, they gave coach Mike McCarthy his first Super Bowl victory againstthe team he rooted for while growing up in Pittsburgh. BesidesLombardi, Mike Holmgren won a title in 1997 with Favre."This is a great group of men here, a lot of character," Rodgers said. "We went through a lot together."Even on Sunday, they did. Woodsonwent out late in the first half with a collarbone injury, a few playsafter Driver was sidelined with an ankle problem."It was very difficult to watch," Woodson said, "but it feels good now."Woodson saw the Steelers, whorallied from a 21-7 halftime hole against Baltimore three weeks ago,show the same resilience. A 37-yard catch and run by Antwaan Randle El -- an almost forgotten figure during his return season with just 22receptions -- sparked a quick 77-yard drive. Hines Ward, the 2006 SuperBowl MVP, had 39 yards on three catches during the series, including an8-yard TD when he completely fooled Jarrett Bush.A quick defensive stop and a 50-yarddrive to Rashard Mendenhall's 8-yard touchdown run made it 21-17. Butwith Pittsburgh driving for perhaps its first lead of the game,Mendenhall was stripped at the Green Bay 33 by Clay Matthews -- one ofthe few plays the All-Pro linebacker made. The Packers recovered, andRodgers hit Jennings for 8 yards and the winning points.Pittsburgh's last gasp was on a25-yard touchdown pass to Mike Wallace and a brilliant pitchout byRoethlisberger to Randle El for a 2-point conversion.
RELATED: Rash of turnovers costly for Pittsburgh
Mason Crosby added a 23-yard field goal for the Packers and the Steelers had no more comebacks in them."You play to be world champions," Matthews said, "and that's what we are today."

Casspi thanks Kings after trade to Pelicans: 'Definitely isn't easy'

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Casspi thanks Kings after trade to Pelicans: 'Definitely isn't easy'

The Kings traded Omri Casspi to the New Orleans Pelicans on Monday, prompting the forward to post a heartfelt message on his Instagram account.

I want to thank the Sacramento Kings organization for the opportunity to play basketball in front of the great fans of Sacramento. My wife and I felt in Sacramento like being home and this is something we both will cherish for ever. This definitely isn't easy for me and my family to leave, and you all know how much I love our city, organization and fans but the time has come. I want to wish nothing but success to my Kings. I will definitely will follow and cheer from afar. 
Always a big part of my heart, 
Omri #18

Casspi, 28, averaged 5.9 points, 4.1 rebounds and 18 minutes per game for the Kings this year.

A's spring training Day 7: Rosales readies himself everywhere

A's spring training Day 7: Rosales readies himself everywhere

MESA, Ariz. — Adam Rosales has a real simple plan for which infield position he chooses to try to get work at.

“Wherever there’s less guys, I go over there,” he explained with a smile.

The sun came out and the A’s finally got on the field for their first full-squad workout Monday after being rained out Sunday. That meant Rosales, back for his second go-round as an Athletic, got his first chance to prepare for what figures to be a super-utility role, which is how he’s carved out a nine-year major league career.

All indications are that he’ll be the primary backup infielder, capable of spelling Jed Lowrie at second base, Marcus Semien at shortstop, Trevor Plouffe at third and even fill in at first base or left field in a pinch.

Though Rosales, who spent 2010-12 with Oakland and re-signed in January on a one-year $1.25 million deal, is well-versed in preparing himself all over the diamond, one position in particular is one that he says is most difficult to master in limited time.

“Shortstop,” he offered without hesitation. “There’s a lot more going on there, a lot less room for error. At shortstop, especially with a guy like Mike Trout running, you’ve got to be in good rhythm, good timing, get rid of the ball and make an accurate throw.”

Depending on how the A’s prioritize their 25-man roster, Rosales could very well be the only backup infielder. That means fellow infielders Joey Wendle and Chad Pinder would start in the minors if the A’s were to keep a fifth outfielder or third catcher. But because the A’s have some players who can fill in at multiple spots, there’s numerous ways they can choose to configure the roster when it comes time to pare it down.

Rosales, 33, said walking back into the A’s clubhouse for the first time made him “feel like I’m back home.” So much of the support staff — equipment guys, clubhouse guys — are the same as when he was here before. He was also happy to see former infield mate Mark Ellis walk through the door Sunday. He says Ellis, a teammate from 2010-11, instilled in him the importance of being a great defender. Ellis is working as a part-time spring instructor.

“He told me, the No. 1 reason he was in the big leagues was because of this,” Rosales said, holding up his glove. “I was such a young player then. I’d always work with him, how to turn double plays. Just to have him around is awesome.”

NOTEWORTHY: Sonny Gray and Kendall Graveman were among the pitchers who faced hitters for the first time this season. Bruce Maxwell caught Gray, his first time behind the plate with Gray other than the one inning Gray threw in an abbreviated start at Anaheim toward the end of last season. Maxwell said Gray’s changeup in particular looked good.

Manager Bob Melvin has been very impressed early on with Graveman’s command. Graveman said he’s trying to improve his changeup, in an effort to induce weak contact from righties and get them on the their front foot, which could then make him more effective on the inside corner.

CAMP BATTLE: There could be a good fight for the seventh and final spot in the bullpen, and it would seem being left-handed could give someone an edge. Sean Doolittle is the only lefty currently projected among the A’s top six relievers. Melvin had good things to say about Daniel Coulombe, a lefty who made 35 appearances in relief last year and also saw a bit of time with Oakland in 2015. Coulombe posted a 4.53 ERA last season but struck out 54 in 47 2/3 innings.