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Saturday 10/18/2014
College Football: Nance accounts for six TDs in Hampden-Sydney win
Posted: October 18, 2014

Several former local football stars have moved on to the next level where they are making an impact in college football. Close to 20 former players from Calhoun, Gordon Central and Sonoraville appear on college rosters, and many of them saw action this past weekend their teams’ games.

Friday 10/17/2014
Editor's Column: Falcons' lackluster talent on Dimitroff; Football picks
Posted: October 17, 2014

Dimitroff to blame for bare cupboard

Thursday 10/16/2014
Falcons' Jones, White upset with themselves
Posted: October 16, 2014

FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. (AP) — Nobody expected Julio Jones and Roddy White to be a weak link in the Atlanta Falcons' offense.

The former Pro Bowl receivers are having unforeseen problems holding onto the football and running crisp routes.

When the Falcons (2-4) visit Baltimore (4-2) this weekend, they will bring a running game that's struggling for the second straight year and a once-dependable passing attack that can't make basic plays.

Jones and White, both seemingly healthy after an injury-filled 2013, blame themselves for multiple drops.

They each had two in last week's home loss to Chicago. Levine Toilolo, a second-year tight end who replaced legendary Tony Gonzalez, had three.

The offense is also without No. 3 receiver Harry Douglas, who's likely to miss his fourth straight game with an injured foot.

Coach does not expect Gurley to play this week
Posted: October 16, 2014

ATHENS, Ga. (AP) — Georgia coach Mark Richt expects star tailback Todd Gurley's indefinite suspension to stay in place this week.

No. 10 Georgia plays a Southeastern Conference game at Arkansas on Saturday. The school is investigating allegations of rules violations by Gurley, whose suspension began for last week's 34-0 win at Missouri.

Richt said on his Twitter account early Thursday that he will "try to clear up Todd's status" and "will let you know if his status changes." He added that he's "not anticipating it to change this week."

The school has not released details of the investigation. Richt has said it involves autographs and memorabilia.

Gurley is considered a leading Heisman Trophy candidate and continues to practice with the team.

Wednesday 10/15/2014
Bamacross comes to Gadsden Sports Complex Saturday Oct. 18
Posted: October 15, 2014

GADSDEN, Alabama -- As many as 150 cyclists are expected in Gadsden this weekend for Bamacross, a series of Cyclocross races, at Gadsden Sports Complex of West Meighan Boulevard.

Tuesday 10/14/2014
Georgia's Gurley still suspended, practices
Posted: October 14, 2014

ATHENS, Ga. (AP) — Todd Gurley was back at practice for No. 10 Georgia on Monday even though he hasn't been cleared to play.

Saturday 10/11/2014
College Football: Mercer freshman Curtis again earns honors for returns
Posted: October 11, 2014

Several former local football stars have moved on to the next level where they are making an impact in college football. Close to 20 former players from Calhoun, Gordon Central and Sonoraville appear on college rosters, and many of them saw action this past weekend their teams’ games.

Friday 10/10/2014
Editor's Column: Hayes returns just in time for Lady Phoenix; Weekend picks
Posted: October 10, 2014

Lady Phoenix get ace back

Thursday 10/09/2014
NFL teams are cranking up the jams
Posted: October 09, 2014

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (AP) — To get ready to face Richard Sherman and Seattle's ear-piercing 12th man, the Denver Broncos turned to Lil Wayne, Jerimih, Ozzy Osbourne and Pharrell Williams.

Like many other teams, the Broncos have dialed down the old jet engine noise that roared through their concert-sized speakers at practice. Now, like so many teenagers, they crank up the jams to body-shivering, brain-rattling volume.

Led Zeppelin. Nicki Minaj. Ariana Grande.

Teams have long used piped-in sound to make it harder for players on both sides of the ball to communicate. Adding songs — some that players may want to dance to, others that make them cringe — makes them have to concentrate even harder.

Tight end Julius Thomas casually mentioned to Broncos offensive coordinator Adam Gase this spring that it's harder to concentrate to music. Denver ditched the crowd noise and joined the growing list of teams piping in melodies to mess with their players' minds.

"The white noise is easier to block out," Thomas said. "I think when they play music, it makes it a bit tougher. Just noise isn't as distracting as maybe a song that you recognize. Say you're hearing a song that in your off time you enjoy and you sing along to, when you're able to block that out, then you're able to do your best to block out crowd noise.

"I think it's much better than just AAAHHH! After a while you just stop hearing it," Thomas added.

NFL coaches are sure listening.

Sixteen NFL teams now pump music into their practices and another eight use a mixture of songs and the old crowd noise. Seven still use just the white noise and one team — the Rams — doesn't use any form of noise.

In St. Louis, sometimes players not in formation are told to stand behind the quarterback and shout and jump around.

"I think if you make a big deal of a crowd noise then it becomes a big deal during the game," Rams coach Jeff Fisher explained. "So in camp, we had a few drills in the back of the end zone and that's all we do."

The rest of the league believes practicing in the cacophony is just as important as running plays.

"There's some songs out there that you might want to bob your head to, but you have to stay focused and know what we're doing out there," Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson said.

The Jets use both music and crowd noise, changing the mix depending on the upcoming trip. If it's a particularly tough place to visit like, say, Green Bay, they'll go with more jet engine noise.

For home games, they'll even pump in some "J-E-T-S" chants for their players' benefit.

Broncos coach John Fox can't even name today's top artists but he's a big fan of the blaring music.

"It's not as big a headache as the jet engine noise," Fox said. "I mean, at least it's something that has some semblance, and there's words. I mean, noise is noise. Music is music."

New Orleans center Tim Lelito likes the mixture of music and noise the Saints use.

Players are "more efficient in practice when they play music, but they don't play (just) music when they're on the road," Lelito said. "So you get into the rhythm of the music while you're practicing but there's no rhythm to a fan screaming their lungs out.

Broncos linebacker Nate Irving said if you're going to get your head rattled with decibels, it might as well have a melody. "The noise is irritating already," he said. "But I think the music actually helps you have to focus a little bit more because you know songs. It's a continuous focus."

As anyone who's been to a club or a concert can attest, the energy can rise with the racket, and that also happens when the jams get cranked up at practice, Cowboys center Travis Frederick suggested.

"Some guys like having something different. And when the music's going, they have something else to focus on, something different. Sometimes they use that to try and distract you. Sometimes it's just to keep the energy up," he said.

Thomas said the Broncos use songs from every genre and mix it up so there's no chance of tuning them out.

The only song selection that made him cringe was when "Rocky Top" was cranked up during warmups once and Peyton Manning did a dorky dance to the unofficial anthem of his Tennessee Volunteers while receiver Wes Welker added a hokey hoedown. "I love it," said Broncos defensive end Malik Jackson, a former Vol. "They need to play it every day."

"That's a terrible song," countered Thomas, evidence that one man's tune is another man's torture.

___

AP Sports Writers Schuyler Dixon, Brett Martel and Dennis Waszak contributed.

___

AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and www.twitter.com/AP_NFL

Saturday 10/04/2014
College Football: Lamb makes second career start for Appalachian State
Posted: October 04, 2014

Several former local football stars have moved on to the next level where they are making an impact in college football. Close to 20 former players from Calhoun, Gordon Central and Sonoraville appear on college rosters, and many of them saw action this past weekend their teams’ games.

Friday 10/03/2014
Editor's Column: College, Falcons pick for huge football weekend schedule
Posted: October 03, 2014

Predictions for this weekend

Thursday 10/02/2014
Gonzalez: No decisions yet on Braves' staff
Posted: October 02, 2014

ZEBULON, N.C. (AP) — Atlanta Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez says no decisions have been made about his coaching staff's future.

Interim general manager John Hart said Thursday he and Gonzalez met Wednesday and "looked at all facets of the club, and we talked a lot about staff."

Hart says he doesn't know that any moves are "imminent." Gonzalez says he believes "in the next couple days, we'll come up with something."

The Braves are looking for a hitting coach after Greg Walker resigned earlier this week. They lost 18 of their final 25 games and finished under .500 for just the third time in 24 years.

The Carolina Mudcats, located in Zebulon, will become Atlanta's advanced Class A affiliate next season and team officials traveled to the town outside Raleigh to discuss the move.

Cowboys' Spillman investigated in sex assault case
Posted: October 02, 2014

GRAPEVINE, Texas (AP) — Dallas Cowboys special teams player C.J. Spillman is under investigation but hasn't been arrested or charged after a report of an alleged sexual assault at the team hotel last month.

Grapevine police spokesman Sgt. Robert Eberling said Wednesday night that the alleged assault took place early Sept. 20 at the Gaylord Texan Resort and Convention Center.

The team flew to St. Louis later that Saturday, and Spillman played against the Rams the next day.

He has played in all four games, including last weekend at home against New Orleans. His only tackle of the season came against the Rams. Spillman is listed as a safety but hasn't played defense this season.

Spillman's agent, Ron Slavin, and attorney Bruce Ashworth declined to comment. The Cowboys didn't immediately respond to an email seeking comment.

Eberling said no other details were being released because the investigation is ongoing.

The Cowboys signed the 28-year-old Spillman on Sept. 1, two days after the sixth-year player was among the final cuts by San Francisco. The former Louisville defensive back spent most of his first five seasons with the 49ers.

The alleged assault came less than 24 hours after NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell held a news conference to address concerns about the way the league has handled domestic violence cases.

"Obviously, we see what's going on with the NFL, but these things are very sensitive in nature when it comes to the victim," Eberling said. "We don't release any details involving these type of crimes while they're under investigation."

Goodell and the league were widely criticized over a two-game suspension for Baltimore running back Ray Rice after he knocked out his then-fiancee in a hotel elevator.

The commissioner later acknowledged the punishment was too light and said future first offenses in domestic violence cases would result in six-game bans. When an explosive video surfaced showing Rice punching the woman, he was released by the Ravens and suspended indefinitely by the league.

The NFL also has been rocked by a pair of assault cases last month that sidelined running backs Adrian Peterson in Minnesota and Jonathan Dwyer in Arizona.

Peterson was indicted in Texas on felony child-abuse charges for using a tree branch, or "switch," to discipline his 4-year-old son.

Dwyer won't play again this season after his arrest on aggravated assault charges. A law enforcement report says he head-butted his wife and broke her nose after she refused his sexual advances, and punched her in the face the next day.

Peterson and Carolina defensive end Greg Hardy are on a paid leave through a special roster exemption granted by the league. Hardy is appealing his conviction in a domestic violence case involving an ex-girlfriend in North Carolina.

San Francisco defensive lineman Ray McDonald is playing after he was arrested on suspicion of domestic violence at a home he shares with his fiancee. He hasn't been charged.

___

AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and http://twitter.com/AP_NFL

NFL: Rogers released by Colts after arrest
Posted: October 02, 2014

The Indianapolis Colts released receiver Da'Rick Rogers on Monday after he was inactive for all four games this season.

Wednesday 10/01/2014
FCC will consider petition to ban 'Redskins'
Posted: October 01, 2014

WASHINGTON (AP) — The head of the Federal Communications Commission says the agency will consider a petition to ban the Washington Redskins nickname from the public airwaves.

Government: NFL TV 'blackout' rule unsportsmanlike
Posted: October 01, 2014

WASHINGTON (AP) — For years, football fans have bemoaned the rule barring NFL home games that haven't sold out from being televised in the local market.

Monday 09/29/2014
Colts release WR Da'Rick Rogers
Posted: September 29, 2014

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — The Colts released receiver Da'Rick Rogers on Monday after he was inactive for all four games this season.

Saturday 09/27/2014
Local Highlights: First McKinnon Tourney held at Calhoun Rec
Posted: September 27, 2014

The first ever Robert Mckinnon Memorial Tennis Tournament was held Sept. 13-14 at the Calhoun Recreation Department.  McKinnon died from head injuries in 2013. He was an avid tennis player and loved all sporting activities and was also past president of Club Y. His family wants to thank all participants and club Y members for making a very successful tournament.

MLB: Culberson, Rockies' season winding down
Posted: September 27, 2014

Former Calhoun High standout Charlie Culberson and the Colorado Rockies are now in the final week of the regular season.

Friday 09/26/2014
College Football: Mercer's Curtis runs back punt, earns conference honors
Posted: September 26, 2014

Several former local football stars have moved on to the next level where they are making an impact in college football. Close to 20 former players from Calhoun, Gordon Central and Sonoraville appear on college rosters, and many of them saw action this past weekend their teams’ games.