<![CDATA[NBC Connecticut - Sports]]> Copyright 2015 http://www.nbcconnecticut.com/news/sports http://media.nbcbayarea.com/designimages/NBC_Connecticut.png NBC Connecticut http://www.nbcconnecticut.com en-us Fri, 28 Aug 2015 10:43:52 -0400 Fri, 28 Aug 2015 10:43:52 -0400 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Woman Files Suit Against Bulls Star Derrick Rose]]> Thu, 27 Aug 2015 21:17:25 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/160*120/GettyImages-458331240.jpg

A woman has filed a lawsuit against Chicago Bulls star Derrick Rose, claiming he and two friends drugged and gang-raped her.

The unidentified woman, who says she dated Rose from 2011 to 2013, says she was drugged at a Beverly Hills home and later attacked at her apartment.

Rose denied the woman's claims in a statement he released late Thursday.

"I am just focusing on staying healthy and getting ready for the season," he said. "I am not going to comment other than to say - I know the truth, and am confident I will be proven innocent.”

The lawsuit, which was first reported by TMZ Wednesday and made public Thursday, says the incident took place in August of 2013.

Rose’s spokesperson, Lisa Cohen, said on behalf of his legal team that the lawsuit is “nothing more than a desperate attempt to shake down a highly respected and successful athlete" and called the claims "outrageous."

"Two years have passed since Mr. Rose ended the consensual relationship with the plaintiff, and her claims are as meritless now as they were two years ago," she said. "We have complete confidence that the case will be dismissed and that Mr. Rose will be vindicated."

Cohen also claimed this is the third attorney the woman has hired in an attempt to sue Rose.

The Chicago Bulls released a statement on the issue Wednesday.

"We just learned about this matter and do not know all the facts,” the team said. “It would be inappropriate to comment further at this time.”

Rose’s agent could not immediately be reached for comment.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[McDonald Indicted on Rape Charges]]> Wed, 26 Aug 2015 20:03:12 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/th-may-25-ray-mcdonald-mug.jpg

Former San Francisco 49’ers and Chicago Bears defensive end Ray McDonald was indicted on Wednesday on one count of rape and on one count of violating a restraining order by a Santa Clara County Grand Jury, the San Jose Mercury News reports.

McDonald, who was signed by the Bears in March and released by the team after new domestic violence allegations surfaced against him a few months later, was accused of raping an intoxicated woman at a party in December 2014. The incident caused the 49’ers to release him, with the team citing a series of poor decision-making as the reason for the decision.

McDonald’s former teammate Ahmad Brooks was also indicted for his role in an incident at the same party, the newspaper reported.

If convicted on the rape charge, McDonald faces a maximum of eight years in prison, with another year possible with the restraining order violation charges.

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<![CDATA[ESPN Pulls Former Red Sox Star From Air After Posts Compare Muslims Extremists to Nazis]]> Wed, 26 Aug 2015 10:50:08 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/138886369.jpg

ESPN has pulled Curt Schilling from the air after the former Red Sox and Phillies star posted a photo comparing Muslim extremists to Nazis on his social media accounts.

The photos, posted Tuesday, were deleted and Schilling apologized. ESPN announced that the company has removed Schilling as a broadcaster for the Little League World Series "pending further consideration.”

"Curt's tweet was completely unacceptable, and in no way represents our company's perspective," ESPN said in a statement.

Schilling issued an apology on Twitter, saying he understands his suspension and that the situation is "100% my fault." 

 

 He has also apologized to some online commenters individually.



Photo Credit: Bloomberg via Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Norwalk Fallen Soldier Honored at Connecticut Open]]> Tue, 25 Aug 2015 15:29:07 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/David+Fahey+1200.jpg

A local fallen hero was honored on the court at the Connecticut Open on Monday night as part of the tournament’s Military Appreciation Night. An Honor & Remember flag was presented to the family of Norwalk native Army Specialist David R. Fahey, Jr.

Honor & Remember is a national nonprofit working to establish an official flag honoring fallen American service members – and to place one in the hands of each fallen hero’s family.

Long before he saw combat in a war zone, Nowalk-born Spc. Fahey had already fought some battles in life. He lost his father at a young age. Despite some turbulent years in his youth, he remained optimistic and focused on his future.

“He could have been very cynical,” said Fahey’s aunt Cari Ettinger of Milford, who helped raise him. “He could have been mad at the world and why me, why me - no. Never.”

Fahey dreamed of becoming a police officer, and enlisted in the Army in August of 2007 to get military police training. After a one year tour in Korea, his unit deployed to Kandahar Province in June of 2010 – an assignment he volunteered for.

“He actually asked for Afghanistan,” Ettinger recalled. “Even though we were like no, no…. he wanted to make a difference.”

Even in an active combat zone, home was never far away from Fahey’s mind, as evidenced by the numerous phone calls, letters and cards sent home.

“He would call and talk to me, tell me how he just wanted to come home and have a normal life,” Ettinger said tearfully. “He wanted to buy a house, and start a family.”

Those dreams were cut short on Feb. 28, 2011. An improvised explosive device exploded under the MRAP vehicle Fahey was driving. He was killed instantly, just three months before he was set to come home. He was just 23 years old. Fahey was buried in New York state next to his father, and was posthumously awarded the Bronze Star, Purple Heart and Combat Action Badge.

Nearly four years later, Ettinger says she finds comfort in precious memories. Her most treasured possession is a teddy bear Fahey sent her for Valentine’s Day two weeks before his death. She brings it to ceremonies honoring Fahey and other veterans around the state.

Plans are underway at the State Capitol to dedicate the Richards Avenue I-95 overpass in Norwalk in Fahey’s name. Staffers for Senator Bob Duff told NBC Connecticut the ceremony is planned for mid-September – a lasting tribute to a native son who paid the ultimate sacrifice.

“He can’t be here,” said Ettinger. “But he can be remembered for being here. I’m not going to let him just fade to black. It’s not going to happen.”

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<![CDATA[Glastonbury Teen Raises Money for ALS]]> Tue, 25 Aug 2015 11:12:13 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Glastonbury_Teen_Raises_Money_for_ALS_1200x675_512662083980.jpg A Glastonbury High School freshman is raising money to fight ALS in honor of her father and some high school athletes took the ice bucket challenge to raise funds.]]> <![CDATA[NFL Files New Argument in Tom Brady Appeal]]> Tue, 25 Aug 2015 06:47:07 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/tom-brady-patriots-nfl.jpg

The NFL filed a new argument Monday in the Tom Brady appeal.

The letter, sent to Judge Richard Berman, questions the NFL Player's Association presentation during a hearing last week in which the NFLPA submitted a list of 19 examples of rulings in which a court vacated an arbitration award.

The NFLPA suggested those cases set legal precedent for the judge to throw out the NFL's decision to suspend Tom Brady for four games in response to his alleged role in Deflategate.

The NFL says those cases are not similar to the Tom Brady case.

Another hearing is set for next week in Brady's appeal. 



Photo Credit: WHDH]]>
<![CDATA[Yard Goats Gain Loyal Following on Social Media]]> Mon, 24 Aug 2015 22:43:45 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/yardgoatsstill082415.jpg

Next spring, the Hartford Yard Goats hope to develop a solid fan base for minor league baseball, but already, the team is trying to lure people in their 20s and 30s who might think the Yard Goats are edgy and cool because of what they put on Facebook and Twitter.

"Throw a contest out there and get people talking," said Mike Abramson, senior vice president for sales and marketing, "because the way that we grow it is the more people that retweet and share and answer questions, all of their people see it in their feeds."

He expected big interest in a contest to guess the closing figure for the Dow Jones Industrial Average. Much of what he tweets from @GoYardGoats, in fact, has nothing to do with baseball.

It could be there's something other than work going on in the offices of downtown Hartford, because Abramson has found so much response on Twitter and Facebook.

"Twitter's a little bit more sarcastic and fun and iffy and Facebook is more long form. Facebook is to email as Twitter is to text," he explained.

He said customers who walk into the office on Trumbull Street for Yard Goats shirts want to know who does the social media. That would be Abramson, who has already learned people respond most when he posts as though the team were just one person. So he types "I" and "my," not "we" and "our," on social media.

"I don't know that anybody's really figured out how to monetize it yet, but it gives you a chance to talk to your audience and create a voice for your brand in the way you want to create a voice," he said.

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<![CDATA[Olympic Gymnastics Coach Suspected of Molestation]]> Mon, 24 Aug 2015 19:55:23 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-149434037.jpg

An Olympic gymnastics coach was arrested early Monday morning in Indianapolis on suspicion of child molestation, a spokeswoman for an Indiana prosecutor's office told NBC News.

Marvin Sharp has not formally been charged, said Marion County Prosecutor's Office spokeswoman Peg McLeish, adding that her office is sharing its investigation with federal authorities.

NBC affiliate WTHR reported that the investigation began with a complaint from a female gymnast at Sharp's Gymnastics Academy, and that USA Gymnastics is cooperating with the investigation. On Sunday evening, detectives searching for child pornography removed computers and other electronic devices from Sharp's home, the station reported.



Photo Credit: File - Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Jets Rookies Prove Maccagnan Has Eye for Talent]]> Mon, 24 Aug 2015 12:12:23 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/leonard+williams1.jpg

Halfway through their preseason slate, the New York Jets’ first-teamers haven’t exactly performed like a juggernaut during their limited time on the field. However, while splitting the first two exhibition games -- a 23-3 loss to the Lions that was every bit as ugly as it the score indicates and a 30-22 win vs. the Falcons that was a whole lot prettier -- Gang Green’s key rookies showed that new GM Mike Maccagnan may know a thing or two about building through the draft. 

As I’ve said before, I didn’t like the selection of defensive lineman Leonard Williams with the 2015 NFL Draft’s sixth overall pick, because I don’t think a franchise coming off a 4-12 pick should be drafting for depth instead of filling vital areas of need. Sheldon Richardson and Muhammad Wilkerson are both stalwarts that are still in their mid 20s, while the immovable Damon Harrison -- you don’t get the nickname “Big Snacks” for your slightness of frame -- is a load in the middle at the age of 26.

However, as we’ve seen over the past few weeks, the Jets’ defensive line appears to have the depth of your average kiddie pool. Wilkerson, who’s in the final year of his contract and seeking a huge new deal, has been inactive in the preseason with a hamstring injury, while Richardson is apparently thinking of leaving pro football behind for a starring role on “America’s Most Wanted.”

Then, there’s the fact that Williams showed on Friday night that he’s a force in his own right. The precocious 21-year-old out of USC got to Atlanta’s QBs with impugnity, racking up 1.5 sacks and getting on the scoreboard with a safety. Meanwhile, LB Lorenzo Mauldin, a third-round choice out of Louisville, has shown that he too can consistently pressure the passer, although he may be out for some time after injuring his knee during Sunday's practice.

On the other side of the ball, after appearing out of his league -- the NFL, that is -- in the first exhibition game, QB Bryce Petty looked like a different player against the Falcons. Petty connected on 12 of 19 pass attempts on Friday night, including a 13-yard scoring strike to DeVier Posey that was a testament both to Petty’s arm strength and the receiver’s hands.

Before Game 2, I’d viewed Petty largely as a product of a Baylor system that allows no-name quarterbacks (not including RGIII, that is) to put up Madden-like numbers without the talent to back it up. I don’t anymore. He not only has a solid arm, but good feet. He may not be much on the 40-yard dash, but he’s athletic enough to get out of trouble and make a good play out of a difficult situation. I look forward to seeing more from Petty. And, when the 2016 NFL Draft is upon us, I’ll defer to Maccagnan’s judgment just a bit more than I did this time around.



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Top Sports Photos 2015]]> Mon, 24 Aug 2015 08:12:22 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/topSports-AP_815986155748.jpg Click to see dramatic game action photos from professional football, hockey, basketball, baseball and more.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Pearl Harbor Vet Throws 1st Pitch]]> Mon, 24 Aug 2015 10:46:56 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/160*120/WW+II+Veterans+1st+Pitch.jpg

The oldest survivor of the Dec. 7, 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor threw the ceremonial first pitch Sunday before the San Diego Padres game at Petco Park.

Raymond Chavez, 103, who served on the U.S. Navy coastal minesweeper USS Condor, was joined by Jack Paris, who served on the U.S. Navy battleship USS Colorado and was on it in Tokyo Bay when Japan surrendered to end World War II.

Chavez threw his pitch to reliever Kevin Quackenbush while Paris threw his to coach Dave Roberts. The crowd of more than 30,000 gave both men a standing ovation for their effort and to thank them for their service.

The Padres have a longstanding tradition of honoring the Military at home games on Sundays.

The St. Louis Cardinals beat the Padres 10-3, hampering their attempt to sweep their third series this season and second in a row.

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<![CDATA[Connecticut Open Returns to New Haven]]> Sat, 22 Aug 2015 14:28:45 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/connecticut+open.jpg

Join NBC Connecticut at the Connecticut Open through Saturday, Aug. 29 at the Connecticut Tennis Center at Yale.

The tournament is not only a large-scale sporting event but a way to give back to the community.

With five different competitions and week-long activities, the Connecticut Open is fun for the whole family! Each day of the tournament offers a new attraction, along with top-level tennis.

Some of the best tennis players in the world – including Caroline Wozniacki, defending champion Petra Kvitova, and Americans Madison Keys, Sloane Stephens and Coco Vandeweghe – will compete.

Tournament events include Kids' Day, Military Appreciation Night, UConn Day, Girl Power Night and Family Night, and will feature food trucks, entertainment, live music and other attractions.

For a detailed schedule of events and more information, visit the Connecticut Open's website.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Watch: Swiss Cliff Jumper Laso Schaller's Epic Plunge]]> Fri, 21 Aug 2015 16:16:24 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/schaller.jpg

Famed jumper Laso Schaller made headlines for setting "a new cliff-jump world record" when dramatic video of him plunging nearly 200 feet into a pool of water was released on Aug. 18.

But a technicality will keep the Swiss 27-year-old out of the official record books — the feat is too dangerous for Guinness.

During the Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series, Schaller completed a 192.9-foot jump into a 26-foot-deep pool of water. Red Bull, which sponsors the event, said he set a record.

Guinness World Records no longer monitors that category “due to the obvious dangers involved and the inadvisability of sanctioning such a record,” a spokesperson said.

Though Guinness doesn't track cliff-jumping anymore, they do keep a record of who has the most Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series titles. Four-time winner Gary Hunt is the current record holder.

Red Bull, which sponsors the event, has not yet responded for comment.

Even with Schaller’s experience, there was a lot of extra preparation needed to make the jump.

His team built a platform that extended out from the top of the waterfall to clear a rock wall for the jump, according to a blog post from Red Bull. The team also explored the pool using scuba gear and placed six aerating tanks in his projected landing area to "soften" the water.

Schaller, a canyon guide and athlete by trade, regularly participates in high-dive shows, which involve jumping roughly 80 feet, 20 times in a day.


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<![CDATA[Flynn Gives Jets Much Needed Veteran Presence as Backup QB]]> Fri, 21 Aug 2015 12:08:33 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/matt+flynn+jets.jpg

Joe Montana. Joe Namath. Matt Flynn. One of these names doesn’t belong, and that’s not because it lacks a "Joe."

Montana and Namath aren’t only two of the all-time greats, but also the only two QBs who have started for both a national champ in college and a Super Bowl winner. 

Flynn, who led LSU to a national title in 2007, could have been the signal caller in Seattle these past few years, if only the Seahawks didn’t draft some kid named Russell Wilson after every other team in the NFL dismissed him because he wasn’t tall.

Would Flynn have taken the Hawks to the promised land, as Wilson did? Some would argue that any quarterback could win it all with Seattle’s dominating defense and Beast Mode in the backfield (and add that, had they gone to the latter on that infamous last play, they’d have been the first team to win consecutive Super Bowls in a decade).

I would argue differently. I’d take Wilson over any QB in the world not named Rodgers or Brady, whatever all these advanced metrics no one understands say. For all the hype surrounding Andrew Luck, he looks an awful lot like Andy Dalton when it comes to the playoffs.

But I digress. Since being brought in to start in Seattle just three years ago by GM John Schneider and head coach Pete Carroll, Flynn has redefined the term “journeyman,” even suiting up for three different franchises in 2013.

To date, Flynn has only seven NFL starts to his credit, and except for the last game of the 2011 season, when Flynn put up Arena League-type stats (480 yards, six TDs) against Detroit in a game that didn’t have much meaning (both teams were already assured of their postseason slots) but still did feature 11 actual Lions defenders at all times, the seven-year NFL veteran hasn’t done much to distinguish himself.

Still, he’s an in-the-flesh professional quarterback, which means he’s arrived in New York not a moment too soon. Given a nagging hamstring injury, the 30-year-old Flynn isn’t expected to play in Friday's game against the Falcons, and he’ll need to immerse himself in Jets offensive coordinator Chan Gailey’s playbook before he can really contribute.

Still, he gives Gang Green a solid option if Ryan Fitzpatrick goes down to injury as QBs are wont to do -- sometimes even without leaving the locker room. Rookie Bryce Petty may be a quality pro one day, but that day certainly doesn’t appear to be coming this fall.

Like Fitzpatrick, Flynn isn’t the Jets QB of tomorrow. If his hamstring doesn’t heal soon, he may not even be the backup QB of today. But he’s got much needed experience at the most important position in pro sports, and, if he can just manage to carry his new team to a Super Bowl win, he’ll join some very exclusive company. No problem, right?



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Women's World Cup Hero to Pen Book]]> Fri, 21 Aug 2015 09:57:07 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Carli+Lloyd+golden+Ball+Womens+World+Cup.jpg

World Cup soccer star Carli Lloyd, whose three goals in the 2015 final led the U.S. to a 5-2 victory over Japan, has a book deal.

The 33-year-old Lloyd is working on a memoir that Houghton Mifflin Harcourt will release in fall 2016. The publisher announced Thursday that the book, currently untitled, will cover her rise from nearly quitting soccer in 2003 and her emphasis on physical and mental strength. An edition for young readers also is planned.

Earlier this summer, the midfielder and Olympic gold medalist scored six goals in seven women's World Cup matches, including a hat trick against Japan.

In a statement released through Houghton Mifflin, Lloyd says she looks forward to sharing her thoughts on a "long journey, sometimes rewarding, sometimes challenging, but worth every moment."



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Gymnast's New Routine for Rio '16]]> Thu, 20 Aug 2015 22:26:23 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/082015+danell+leyva.jpg

One look at Olympic gymnast Danell Leyva and you'll notice the changes.

"He's way better than he was in 2012," said Leyva's coach and step-father, Yin Alvarez.

America fell in love with the 20-year-old from Miami at the London Olympics, where he won Bronze in the Men's All-Around. But since then, Leyva's grown up, physically and mentally.

Now 23, and training for another Olympic run in Rio de Janeiro, Leyva is noticeably leaner, yet stronger. His teeth are adorned with braces. But maybe the most important change in Leyva, is that he's happier.

"Right after the games I was like, 'Man you have to do this, I need to do this, to prove to myself, to prove to these people,'" Leyva said. "And now I have a completely different mentality. I want to do this. I can't wait to do this."

Leyva finished a disappointing sixth at the P&G Championships last week, but was still selected for the U.S. National Team competing at the World Championships in Scotland in October.

And if you know anything about Leyva, who defected from Cuba to Miami at age one, you wouldn't count him out.

He trains six days a week at Universal Gymnastics in West Kendall, a gym owned by his parents. His face and the Olympic rings are all over signs greeting you at the gym. And he serves as an inspiration to the next generation of Olympic hopefuls who come from all over the world to train with Alvarez.

"It's always funny to see that initial reaction, when they realize, 'Wait that was you?'" Leyva said. "I'm like, 'Yeah it's me. They're like that's so cool, I saw you on TV.'"

Leyva said the youngsters inspire him too. He's increased the difficulty of his all his routines. He's also eating healthier now. The days of consuming big bowls of Reese's Puffs for breakfast are gone from his diet, though the 20-year-old Leyva loved them.

"It's not that I can't eat it, I can still put it down no problem," Leyva explained. "I just know it's not helpful, not good for me, so I choose not to."

After a shoulder injury in 2013, Leyva was off the team for the World Championships, but he bounced back. Now, he's confident he'll be there in Rio representing Team USA in 2016. 

But while Leyva isn't getting ahead of himself, his bombastic coach will.

"I [don't] believe that he's only going to be in Rio," Alvarez said. "I believe he's going to win the gold medal in Rio. This is his year. This is his time."

When he's not training in West Kendall, Leyva's spending a lot of time these days working on his next athletic endeavor: soccer. Leyva said he hopes to play professionally when he's done with gymnastics. A long shot? Sure, but Leyva's heard that before.



Photo Credit: NBC6.com]]>
<![CDATA[Connecticut Open Returns to New Haven]]> Thu, 20 Aug 2015 22:22:44 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/connecticut+open.jpg

Join NBC Connecticut at the Connecticut Open from Friday, Aug. 21 to Saturday, Aug. 29 at the Connecticut Tennis Center at Yale.

The tournament is not only a large-scale sporting event but a way to give back to the community.

With five different competitions and week-long activities, the Connecticut Open is fun for the whole family! Each day of the tournament offers a new attraction, along with top-level tennis.

Some of the best tennis players in the world – including Caroline Wozniacki, defending champion Petra Kvitova, and Americans Madison Keys, Sloane Stephens and Coco Vandeweghe – will compete.

Tournament events include Kids' Day, Military Appreciation Night, UConn Day, Girl Power Night and Family Night, and will feature food trucks, entertainment, live music and other attractions.

For a detailed schedule of events and more information, visit the Connecticut Open's website.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Giants Still on Course to Win NFC East]]> Thu, 20 Aug 2015 10:25:13 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/457512460.jpg

What I saw of the Giants in their preseason opening loss to the Bengals doesn’t change my opinion of their prospects in 2015. They’re not only going to make the playoffs, they’re going to win the NFC East and make me rich.

Are you laughing? Then you’re a fan of some other team in this division. Every Giants fan I’ve spoken to – and no, I’m not a Giants fan and I rarely talk to myself, anyway -- is quietly confident that this team is dangerous, flying under the radar and could play deep into January.

And why not? They seem to win Super Bowls when they’re least expected to. And after missing the playoffs for the fifth time in six years -- with, ya know, a Super Bowl victory jimmied in there -- the Giants are hardly anyone’s pick to be a dark horse this season.

According to Vegas Insider, the Giants are 40-1 to win the Super Bowl –- the 15th best odds in the NFL and the sixth best in the NFC, behind division colleagues Dallas (16-1) and Philadelphia (18-1). If I were a betting man (and I am), then I am betting heavily on future Hall of Famer Tom Coughlin to win a third Super Bowl and ride off into the sunset.

Now, did the Giants add a lot of talent in the offseason? No, but they have the makings of a high-powered offense with future Hall of Famer Eli Manning, a healthy Rashad Jennings at running back, and a dangerous receiving corps featuring reigning NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year Odell Beckham Jr., healthy slot maestro Victor Cruz, new Swiss Army knife Shane Vereen, and fumble-prone tight end Larry Donnell.

On defense, they have brought back their old defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo – “He won a Super Bowl with us! He knows stuff!” -- to replace Perry Fewell, who foolishly could not keep his best defensive players healthy last year and so had to go.

Well, no more blaming Fewell. Defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul, ostensibly the Giants’ best defensive player, blew off a finger fiddling with fireworks on the Fourth of July when Spagnoulo was on the clock. So if the Giants can’t get any upfront pressure this year, you’ll know who to blame when you call into WFAN – Spagnuolo and JPP, in that order.

Behind the front four, seldom-healthy Jon Beason returns from injury to hopefully anchor the linebackers, while the secondary – headlined by former virgin Prince Amukamara – can finally showcase the ability that fans were expecting last year, when injuries pulverized the back four.

If the Giants can remain healthy and keep the turnovers in check, they can definitely outclass a division that includes Dallas and its so-called running backs, Philadelphia and its answer at quarterback (Sam Bradford) and Washington and its answer at owner (Gen. George Custer).

Here’s what I’d like to see from the G-men as they enter their second preseason game of the year against Jacksonville:

More offense. The Giants accumulated 15 yards total on nine plays in the first three series against Cincinnati, with no first downs. No bueno. Manning finished 4 of 8 for 22 yards, while the team’s lone touchdown was scored by Orleans Darkwa, the best NFL player named for a city in France. We’re not asking for one-handed catches from Odell Beckham Jr., but we’d like to see something more exciting from the offense. After all, we’re playing the Jaguars, who were nearly relegated to the developmental league after last season.

More defense. The Giants signed two-time Pro Bowl safety Brandon Meriwether this week to shore up a secondary that lost four defensive backs to injury (in one half!) against the Bengals. Meriwether, who came into the league with the Patriots, is best known as the guy who consistently aims for the heads of the opposing team’s receivers. Say hi to Brandon, everyone.

More coaching. Frankly, in the Bengals game I didn’t see the passion I need from Tom Coughlin. Sure, we all know that preseason games are largely rote affairs, but how many times did we see Coughlin with his hands on his hips and staring with an incredulous, gaping mouth at some stupidity he’d witnessed on the field? Once? Maybe twice? Not good enough, not when the team lays an egg like they did against Cincinnati.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Ex-NFLer Injured in Apparent Suicide Attempt]]> Thu, 20 Aug 2015 19:25:33 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-337392.jpg

Ex-NFL quarterback Erik Kramer shot himself Tuesday in an apparent suicide attempt at a Los Angeles area motel, but survived, law enforcement sources and his former wife said.

Los Angeles County sheriff's deputies were called to a motel in Calabasas at around 8 p.m. for a welfare check, sources told NBC News. When deputies arrived they found a man, identified as Kramer, with a gunshot wound that was described as not life-threatening.

Kramer's former wife, Marshawn Kramer, told NBC News Wednesday night that Kramer suffered years of depression that she believes was the result of his time in the NFL.

"I can promise you he is not the same man I married," Marshawn Kramer said in a telephone interview.

Kramer, 50, helped lead the Detroit Lions to a 12-4 record and an NFC Championship appearance in the 1991 season. He later joined the Chicago Bears, where he spent five seasons before ending his career with the San Diego Chargers in 1999. 

SUICIDE PREVENTION: If you know someone who needs help, you can contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline by calling 1-800-273-TALK (8255).



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Cherington Out As Red Sox General Manager]]> Wed, 19 Aug 2015 13:30:09 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/214*120/Fenway+Park1.jpg

Ben Cherington, General Manager of the Boston Red Sox, is stepping down, the team said on Twitter Tuesday night.

Dave Dombrowski will be the president of baseball operations effective immediately and will report to Red Sox Owner John Henry and Chairman Tom Werner.

Cherington will assist Dombroski with the transition. 



Photo Credit: necn]]>
<![CDATA[MJ Could Testify Monday]]> Mon, 17 Aug 2015 22:28:24 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Michael+Jordan.png

Michael Jordan spent another full day in court without taking the stand in the case against Dominick’s, but key testimony did come out about how much the basketball legend is worth.

Jordan’s attorneys had promised the NBA superstar would testify Monday, but cross-examination took far too long. Instead the courtroom head from a sports marketing expert and also the head of the athlete’s business and legal advice team. But in the end for the jury, the most important witness may be Jordan himself.

Last year alone, attorneys say Jordan earned $100 million from the use of his likeness: more than he earned from 1994 to 1998 combined. Jordan's likeness and his reputation, his attorneys say, have a great value. That is why they are fighting so hard against Safeway and its now defunct grocery chain Dominick's, challenging an ad that they say used Jordan's name and image without his permission.

The first witness on the stand Monday was Smith College economics professor Andrew Zimbalist, an expert in sports marketing and valuation. He testified about the value of Jordan’s name when it comes to deals with companies seeking his endorsement, calling the Dominick's advertisement an attempt to slice off a part of Michael Jordan's identity that earns him millions of dollars a year.

Jordan's advisers say he won't sign an endorsement deal unless it guarantees him at least $10 million in income, the same amount they say it should be due to the athlete for the unapproved Dominick's ad.

Attorneys for Safeway say the Jordan ad was a one-use only item, and was really only worth about $5,000 in damage to his reputation.

While jurors watched Monday’s testimony, they were also offered at the rare opportunity to submit questions to Zimbalist, asking him to explain some of the more technical aspects of the athlete's stance. 

But what many in the courtroom are still waiting for is the testimony of Michael Jordan himself. He is expected to explain to the jury why he is so careful to guard his reputation, the one that contributes to tens of millions of dollars to his bank account every year.

The former Bulls great is slated to be the first witness on the stand Tuesday morning, with court starting at 10:30 a.m. at Chicago’s Dirkson Federal Building.

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<![CDATA[SF Giants Remake 'Full House' Intro]]> Fri, 14 Aug 2015 22:34:15 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/185*120/brandon2.PNG

It's the "Full Clubhouse." That's what the San Francisco Giants are calling their version of the "Full House" credits, starring a guitar-strumming shortstop Brandon Crawford as — who else — Uncle Jesse.

Hunter Pence, Joe Panik, Matt Duffy, Jeremy Affeldt and Bruce Bochy also appear in the spoof, which is a promo for the Giant's "Full House" theme night at AT&T Park on Sept 30. Javier Lopez is excellent as Jodie Sweetin.

And there's a special guest appearance at the very end. If you listen closely, you'll even hear: "Cut it out!"



Photo Credit: San Francisco Giants]]>