- Jay Busbee at Shutdown Corner3 hrs ago
On Sunday night, the Philadelphia Eagles will honor one of their own, a former cheerleader who has served two tours in Afghanistanas an Army intelligence officer.
Rachel Washburn, age 25, hasn't had a typical career path, to put it mildly. She joined the Eagles' cheerleading squad from 2007 to 2009 while a student at Drexel University. After graduation, she joined the Army and participated in paratrooper training while ultimately following a path into military intelligence.
Washburn, now a 1st lieutenant based out of Fort Stewart, Ga., served as part of a Cultural Support Team designed to attach women to existing special ops units with the express purpose of relating more effectively to local women.Sun, Dec 225:30 PM PSTChicago at PhiladelphiaPreview Game
- Jay Busbee at Fourth-Place Medal4 hrs ago
Lindsey Vonnfailed to finish a downhill race at Val d'Isere, France, on Saturday after her surgically repaired right knee "completely gave out," but insists she's no more injured than she was before the race. Vonn believes she is still on track for success at Sochi, though she indicated she will take a brief break from racing.
This was Vonn's fourth race since returning from an injury suffered last February in Austria that required surgery and extensive rehabilitation. She had hoped to reach a podium prior to the Olympics, but that may not be possible now.
Vonn cut her race short when she missed a gate, and appeared to be in pain following the race, according to the AP.
"I didn’t hurt myself more than I’m already hurt," she said. "It was a small compression, and it was fully loaded on the right ski and my knee just completely gave out. I tried to pressure the ski again and it gave out again. I had no chance of making that gate, unfortunately."
- Jay Busbee at Fourth-Place Medal2 days ago
The 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi were already shaping up to be an event at which sexual orientation played a significant role, in large part because of Russia's stringent anti-gay propaganda law. The United States upped the ante this week by naming two gay athletes to its delegation attending the Games. And now, another member of that delegation, Olympic figured skating legend Brian Boitano, has come out in a move that is clearly designed to endorse a more open form of communication and tolerance than exists in Russia.
Boitano, who won gold in men's figure skating in 1988, has been in the public eye for decades, yet has consistently declined to address the issue of his sexuality despite longtime speculation. The fact that he is coming out at this point, then, is certainly an inextricable part of the overall narrative.
Boitano's statement, in full:
Jaxson, the Jacksonville Jaguars' mascot, was one of the few high points in the winless first half of the season, whether he was streaking at Wembley ordancing in a thong after losing a bet. Turns out, though, he's not just a clown; he's got a bit of golf game.
In a regular bit at Jacksonville's EverBank Field, Jaxson challenges professional golfers — and there are plenty in the area — to a closest-to-the-pin contest from the top of the stadium. Sunday's challenger was Jim Furyk, the 2003 U.S. Open champion.
Furyk has had disappointments in his career, falling short in several bids to win majors, but losing to a freaking mascot has to rank pretty high on his career frustrations. As for Jaxson, we can only hope that this performance will be good enough to earn him an invitation to the 2014 Masters.Sun, Dec 2210:00 AM PSTTennessee at JacksonvillePreview Game
Welcome to the Fifth Quarter, the only NFL recap column you’ll ever need. It’s the only one to provide a full day’s supply of Vitamin C, after all. Here’s what was going on around the rest of the league while you were selfishly focused on your home team and your fantasy players.
Many players appreciate, even revel in, the public-acclaim aspect of professional football. (Fact: 97 percent of such players are wide receivers.) But there are some who look like they'd rather be getting teeth removed than deal with all the non-football aspects of football. Left to their own devices, they wouldn't deal with the fans, the media, the external distractions; if they had their choice, they'd play their football in an empty, preferably sterilized stadium.
And the coaches are even worse. You get the sense that certain guys, like Mike Shanahan, would be happy playing the game of football like they used to play chess in olden times: by mailing plays back and forth.
ATLANTA - On the way to the Georgia Dome, Rex Grossman looked at Kirk Cousins, who would be starting at quarterback for the Washington Redskins in place of the benched Robert Griffin III. Grossman, Cousins' backup, had a simple question: "Do you want me in your ear or not?"
Translation: do you want me looking over your shoulder, offering in-game critiques and advice? Some quarterbacks buck at such intrusion. Cousins is not one of those quarterbacks.
"I'm in my second year. This is my second NFL start," Cousins said after the game. "I'll take all the help I can get."
He got help, in some fashion, from both his offense and his defense. He crafted a perfect 80-yard drive in the final minutes of the game to put Washington in position to tie or even win. But Cousins' two-point conversion with 18 seconds left fell short, and the Redskins lost, 27-26.Sun, Dec 2210:00 AM PSTDallas at WashingtonPreview Game
- Jay Busbee at Shutdown Corner5 days ago
ATLANTA - When Atlanta signed Steven Jackson in the offseason, the team expected he would fill the final hole on offense: the occasionally faltering, highly inconsistent running game. Well, it took 14 games and an injury, but Jackson has finally become the dominant short-yardage back the Falcons needed. Right on time!
Witness his thorough destruction of the Redskins' Josh Wilson above, and his scamper for another touchdown here:
Jackson only rushed for 38 yards on 15 carries, but when you're starting inside the five, you don't need to go very far. His scores turned out to be the decisive difference in the Falcons' 27-26 victory. Josh Wilson, for his part, should be re-entering Earth's atmosphere any minute now. ____ Jay Busbee is a contributor for Shutdown Corner on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter.
- Jay Busbee at Shutdown Corner5 days ago
ATLANTA - You probably want to clear the kids out of the room before watching the video above. Seriously. And if your heart sinks at the thought of poorly-played football, well ... you may wish to look elsewhere. But if you can stomach one of the nastiest three-play sequences this year — hell, in NFL history — then click away, friends.
On Sunday, the Falcons and the Redskins met in a clash of 3-10 teams — "clash" in the sense that two puppies nipping at a treat is a "clash," that is. The game was error-ridden, with nine turnovers (seven by Washington) and defenses with all the stopping power, and less of the mobility, of a sack of dog food.
Nowhere was this more evident than in the second quarter, where in a space of less than 30 seconds the teams combined for three turnovers on consecutive plays:
ATLANTA - As has been the case for most of his career, Tony Gonzalez remains the prettiest part of an ugly team. And on Sunday, he reached yet another milestone affirming his status as one of football's all-time greats.
With a 12-yard pass from Matt Ryan halfway through the third quarter, Gonzalez passed 15,000 receiving yards for his career. Only four other NFL players, all wide receivers — Jerry Rice, Terrell Owens, Randy Moss, and Isaac Bruce — have hit that mark. When the news of Gonzalez' feat was announced to the Georgia Dome crowd, fans got to their feet and gave No. 88 the largest cheer of the game. Granted, in the turnover-filled atrocity that was this Redskins game, it was a low bar to clear, but still.
The active players closest to the 15K mark coming into Sunday are Reggie Wayne at 13,566 yards, and Andre Johnson at 12,531.
- Jay Busbee at Shutdown Corner5 days ago
ATLANTA - Washington, D.C. is a land where much is discussed and little is done. Unsurprisingly, it's been the site of several notable shutdowns in recent years, as Fox Sports noted before the Redskins' Sunday afternoon game against the Atlanta Falcons. (Via @dcsportsbog.)
Robert Griffin III, as you may have heard, is no longer the starting quarterback for the Redskins. He joins Nationals pitcher Stephen Strasburg and the entire U.S. government as notable D.C. shutdowns. The Nationals shut down Strasburg to prevent recurrence of injury, and the government shut down because [insert whatever politically-motivated rationalization makes you feel better here].
Before the game, Griffin was chip-shotting kicks from the two-yard-line with a small smile on his face. During the game, he stood on the sideline in street clothes, offering up encouragement to his replacement, Kirk Cousins.
Also on the sidelines before the game? These folks:Mon, Dec 235:40 PM PSTAtlanta at San FranciscoPreview Game