Mo'ne Davis: How a dilapidated Philly field, a fire truck in right field and a one-eyed cat helped grow a starEric Adelson at Yahoo Sports3 days ago
PHILADELPHIA – Mo'ne Davis and her Taney Dragons have practiced under an Interstate 95 overpass. They've practiced in a flooded field they call "Shot River." They've practiced on an unkempt expanse of land that is now used for dog walking. And they've practiced on a field with a dilapidated fire engine serving as the right field wall.
"This," announces Joe Fallows as he looks out at the rusted red truck, "was a dump."
How that dump helped produce arguably the best story in sports is astounding enough. Davis, 13, just became the first girl to win a Little League World Series game, and she knocked in a run as a hitter in her team's next victory. But when you add in the trolleys, the painted horses, the hearse, and Lucky the one-eyed cat, well, you have one of the most uniquely Philadelphia stories imaginable. The Dragons are so named because all the 12-and-under Taney teams have mythical mascots. But the way the fireball-throwing Davis and these Dragons slayed all the obstacles of building an inner city Little League phenomenon is about as mythical as it gets.
- Eric Adelson at Yahoo Sports5 days ago
TAMPA, Fla. – Doug Martin hates the nickname, but it seems to keep resurfacing.
"What's that they call him?" asked teammate and offensive lineman Demar Dotson after the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' 20-14 preseason loss to the Miami Dolphins on Saturday. "Helmet monster?"
It's actually "Muscle hamster," though "Helmet monster" is perhaps more fitting for such a menacing rusher. Martin is, like his label suggests, hard to track and harder to stop. He's withstood quite a bit in two seasons in the pros. The Bucs' franchise was completely overhauled this offseason, with a new coach, general manager, offensive coordinator, quarterback, receivers, and even uniforms. Yet there's Martin, still front and center – despite a torn labrum that cost him most of the 2013 season.
- Eric Adelson at Yahoo Sports9 days ago
It's clear after one preseason game that Johnny Manziel and Brian Hoyer are tied in their pursuit of the Cleveland Browns' starting quarterback job.
That makes it clear Manziel is in line to win it.
"There is not a leader," said Browns quarterback coach Dowell Loggains on Tuesday, which in itself is a huge change from the offseason, when Hoyer was declared the No. 1. It's not that Hoyer has done anything to lose the job; it's just that an even battle allows the Browns to eventually choose Manziel with less fear of appearing hasty. If the preseason ends in a draw, nobody can say the Browns went with the inferior option. That leads straight to Manziel, even if he's unproven.
Loggains' appearance before the press on Tuesday is a sign in itself. It was Loggains who famously revealed to an Arkansas radio station after the NFL draft that Manziel texted the team asking to be picked by Cleveland and vowing to "wreck this league."
- Eric Adelson at Yahoo Sports12 days ago
TORONTO – By the time Rick Porcello entered the game in the bottom of the 17th inning, after the entire Detroit Tigers' bullpen was empty, he could hardly believe the state of the mound.
"It was one big crater," he said.
That was the extent of the erosion of the Rogers Centre pitching surface toward the end of the longest game in Toronto Blue Jays history, and that's the feeling most Tigers fans must have after a weekend of 29 innings played in two days, only to end up with two walk-off losses. Toronto won one of the zaniest games you'll ever see Sunday, with Jose Bautista playing the hero after going 1-for-8, and the Tigers getting 22 hits and losing 6-5. A World Series favorite with three Cy Young winners in one rotation is now only a half-game up on the charging Kansas City Royals. One of the most talented teams in Detroit history is tiptoeing around one big crater.Sat, Aug 2310:10 AM PDTDetroit at MinnesotaPreview Game
- Eric Adelson at Yahoo Sports13 days ago
DETROIT – Anthony Armstrong came off the field after catching the first pro pass from Johnny Manziel and reveled in the Johnny Drama.
“I’m immortalized!” the Cleveland wide receiver told teammates. “Going down in history!”
Only Manziel can create such theater during a boring preseason game in Detroit. The delight of watching him play is in knowing there’s always another web to tangle, always another predicament. There he was, on only his third play from scrimmage in the second quarter, hopping outside of the pocket and running into three Lions. He was stuffed for no gain – the Road Runner getting caught by the Coyote – and the haters reveled.
But then there he was again in the third quarter, taking off on fourth-and-1, staring down oncoming linebacker Travis Lewis, and getting the first down by a whisper.
“It was short,” sniffed Lewis, who held up a fist after the play, indicating what he thought was a turnover on downs. Nope. Sorry. First down, Browns. More theater.
And after the game, even more intrigue: Nate Burleson, one of Cleveland’s top receivers, gave his honest opinion on whether this is a real quarterback standoff between Manziel and Brian Hoyer.
- Eric Adelson at Yahoo Sports18 days ago
Some of us love our alma mater enough to donate some money once in a while. Maybe a couple hundred bucks. Maybe four figures for the truly devoted.
Then there's Zane Beadles.
The Jacksonville Jaguars offensive lineman decided to give the University of Utah about a quarter of his 2014 base salary.
"It's something I've known I wanted to do since I left school," Beadles said Monday.
Actually, before he left school.
Beadles spent a lot of time in the training room during his career as a Ute. He got to know then-head athletic trainer Paul Silvestri (now at Florida) and current head athletic trainer Eric Yochem nearly as well as he knew his teammates, if not better. On one late afternoon, he made a promise to them that if he ever made it in the NFL, he'd come back to them with some help.
"It was at the end of a practice day," Yochem recalled Monday, "and Zane was one of the last ones left in the training room, just icing down. I remember him saying that. I remember Paul and I saying we're going to hold him to it."
- Eric Adelson at Yahoo Sports24 days ago
ROCHESTER, N.Y. – During his lunch break at Walmart, he would seldom eat lunch.
Jajuan Harley ducked into a bathroom, took off his blue shirt with his name tag, changed into workout clothes, and then headed outside to run a steep cement hill until it was time to return to work.
Or he would head to the parking lot of Supercenter Store #1077 on Apalachee Parkway in Tallahassee, Fla., and run around the parking lot, weaving through the rows of shopping cart holders.
Or he would sneak into the fitness section and do some dumbbell curls. Anything to chase a football dream that once seemed so assured.
Five years ago, Harley was a prized recruit, a four-star safety from Tallahassee who ran a 4.3 in the 40-yard dash and bench pressed 400 pounds. On Jan. 1 of this year, only a few miles from the Florida State campus where he was supposed to become a household name, Harley walked away from his $7.73 per hour salary at Walmart to train full time for one more chance at big-time football. He emailed every single NFL team, hoping for a response. Now, a few months later, he's the longest of long shots at Buffalo Bills training camp.
He arrived here with 71 cents in his bank account.
- Eric Adelson at Yahoo Sports25 days ago
ROCHESTER, N.Y. – Charles Pellien is the kind of hard-working American who would make a good subject for a Bon Jovi song. He's a 49-year-old truck driver with a lifelong love story.
Pellien's love affair is with the Buffalo Bills, the team he grew up cheering for. And therefore he has a problem with Bon Jovi. The New Jersey rocker is part of a prospective NFL ownership group that has already scouted out possible stadium sites in Ontario, according to an AP report over the weekend. Although Bon Jovi has indicated he would not want to move the Bills out of the region, Pellien and many of his fellow Bills fans don't buy that line any more than they buy "Slippery When Wet" CDs.
"It's a big threat," Pellien said of Bon Jovi's possible bid. "He's aligned with guys from Toronto. They've got more money than everybody else. We don't believe they will keep the Bills in Buffalo. Why would they?"
- Eric Adelson at Yahoo Sports26 days ago
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – Of all the football players who Rob Gronkowski brings to mind, Adrian Peterson is not high on the list.
"Gronk" is a massive tight end known for his bruising play, his Thor-like touchdown spikes, his not-always-eloquent blurts and his horrendous late-night dancing. Peterson is one of the more explosive runners in NFL history.
Yet here we have Gronkowski trying to do what Peterson so famously did only two seasons ago: return from a torn ACL and MCL to start the next season after a brutal December injury.
Gronkowski was back in 11-on-11 drills on Sunday with a brace on his surgically repaired left forearm and another on his surgically repaired right knee. He was also back to doing some of the more delicate things that are often overlooked when his nightlife and his game are discussed.
In one drill, Gronkowski stood a couple of feet from a Patriots coach, who started throwing footballs at him point-blank. The 6-foot-6, 265-pound tight end caught each one, and threw it back. Simple stuff.
Then the coach grabbed another football and started throwing that one as well. Gronkowski had to catch one while throwing the other back. He dropped not a one.
- Eric Adelson at Yahoo Sports28 days ago
CORTLAND, N.Y. – Chris Johnson ambled slowly onto the practice field after most of his teammates were already there. He got on the exercise bike and pedaled for a few rotations before stopping and eventually putting his head down onto his crossed arms. He went to stretch with his team, doing twists that weren't all that emphatic and high-knees that weren't at all high. Johnson looked like someone slugging through his last day of camp, rather than his second.
Then the plays from scrimmage started and he was transformed.
There was Johnson, dancing through tacklers and accelerating. There was Johnson, bouncing outside into the open and bursting past chalk line after chalk line. There was Johnson, 20, 30, 40 yards down the field, extending his arms for a deep throw and hauling it in. He was the star of camp on this day, switching suddenly from no-effort to effortless.