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August 2017
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Julius Peppers leaves Carolina for The Windy City and the Bears

It had been reported all week that if Carolina didn’t re-sign DE Julius Peppers to a new contract, he would be heading to New England.

To everybody’s surprise, the NFL’S best past rusher has signed with the Chicago Bears. When the free agent signing period began, Bears coach Lovie Smith flew into Charlotte, N.C. to meet with Peppers and his agent.

The signing of Julius Peppers is one of the biggest moves by a team that has shown it is serious about contending agains after failing to make the playoffs the last three seasons.

The five-time Pro Bowl defensive end and top free agent prize agreed to a six-year deal on Friday worth up to $91.5 million. His agent Carl Carey said a record $42 million is guaranteed. The deal includes incentives for sacks, making the Pro Bowl and winning Defensive Player of the Year. “It is good to come to a place with a rich tradition like the Chicago Bears”, Peppers said.

Julius Peppers brings uncanny athletic ability to Chicago (Fox)

The Bears weren’t through signing key players. Also, at their press conference was running back Chester Taylor, whom they lured from NFC North champion Minnesota with a four-year contract and tight end Brandon Manumaleuna from San Diego with a five year deal.

Chicago general manager Jerry Angelo and head coach Lovie Smith, according to published reports, are operating on a win-or-else mandate from the owners after a 7-9 season that left Chicago fans and media calling for a complete overhaul of the team.

The overhaul started with new offensive and defensive coordinators in Mike Martz and Rod Marinelli.

Julius Peppers at 6’7 brings 81 career sacks in eight seasons with the Carolina Panthers. He had 10 1/2 sacks in 2009. In Chicago, he’ll play alongside Brian Urlacher, Lance Briggs and Tommy Harrison. His presence will give the defense a much-needed lift because it ranked 17th overall and tied for 13th in sacks with 35.

Cavaliers rally from 21 down, beat Detroit, 99-92 on ‘Snuggie Night’

The evening started at Quicken Loans Arena with more than 20,000 people wearing their Snuggies and having fun. But  then a serious medical emergency interrupted the game with reality setting in about life is more important than setting a record for the most people wearing a Snuggie, winning a basketball game or about a winning streak.

Cleveland won their sixth game in a row, 99-92 over their arch-rivals, the Detroit Pistons Friday, coming back from a 21-point deficit. The organization set a new world record for a promotion involving fleece blankets. But everything was pushed to the back-burner when Detroit guard Rodney Stuckey collapsed with 2:30 left in the third quarter after apparently suffering from a seizure on the team bench.

Detroit media relations officials said that Stuckey became unconcious after falling into a coach’s arms after sitting on the bench after a timeout. He was shaking uncontrollably for several minutes as the sellout crowd became silent as medical personnel rushed to his side.

Stuckey was given oxygen and an electrocardiogram before leaving Quicken Loans Arena. He was taken to the Cleveland Clinic. The Pistons said his vital signs were stable and he was kept overnight for treatment and observation.

After the emergency, players from both teams huddled together and prayed. They teams also had a group prayer after the game.

LeBron James, who had 40 points, 13 rebounds and six assists while fighting through a mild ankle sprain, “said the game was between the Cavaliers and the Pistons, but when there is an emergency, everyone becomes one family”.

Delonte West keyed comeback win (nba)

The 21-41 Pistons, losers of six straight, were struggling to hold onto the shockingly large lead. The cavs were in the middle of a run that cut the lead down to six, when Detroit coach John Kuester called timeout and spoke briefly to Stuckey who had eight points and 10 assists in the game.

After the medical emergency, which lasted 12 minutes, Detroit obviously wasn’t the same team.Cleveland scored 20 of the games next 26 points and pulled into the lead for good.

Cleveland, one of the NBA’s best defensive teams, were burned by the Pistons, who have become one of league’s worst offensive teams, early in the game. Detroit behind Tayshaun Prince and Richard Hamilton, quickly raced to a huge lead.

After the Pistons scored 55 points on 52 percent shooting, the Cavs defense became more intense led by LeBron James, Anderson Verejao and Delonte West. The Cavaliers are 49-14 on the season.

Prahalis, Lavender lead Buckeyes to Big Ten Tourney Semifinals

Ohio State's Samantha Prahalis sets assists record (espn)

The Ohio State women’s basketball team has come to rely on their tag-team duo of Jantel Lavender and Samantha Prahalis.  With Jantel being strong and physical in the post and Samantha controlling the point, opponents have their hands full.

Those two had to be on their game because the Buckeyes couldn’t “shake” from Illinois until the final minute of the game for a 66-55 win in the Big Ten Tournament quarterfinals. Ohio State is now 24-8.

Lavender didn’t post her usual double-double, but she did score 19 points with 6 rebounds. Her defense was superb against Illinois’ top scorer, Jenna Smith,  forcing her to receive the ball farther away from the basket than Smith is accustomed to.

Lavender’s partner, Samantha Prahalis added 13 points and eight assists followed by Brittany Johnson scoring 13 points with three, 3-point baskets.

The Buckeyes had an out-of-the-norm bad shooting night, 40 percent, including 6 of 22 from 3-point land and were outrebounded 45-34.

It was the third straight season the ninth-seeded Illini team met the top-seeded Buckeyes in the quarterfinals, with Ililinois winning two years and Ohio State getting revenge in 2009. Fourth-seeded Wisconsin is next for Ohio State in Saturday’s semifinals, game time is 7:15.

Illinois’ Jenna Smith, the senior forward, had 13 points and 11 rebounds in her final conference game, enough rebounds to break Lynnette Robinson’s nearly 30-year old single season record at Illinois. But Smith fell three points short of becoming the school’s career scoring leader. Ashley Berggren scored 2,089 points in her Illinois career, Smith has 2,087, a record she could still achieve if the 16-14 Illini earn a postseason bid.


* In Big Ten Tournament action, the Buckeyes are 24-13.

* Ohio State leads the series with Illinois, 42-17, and have won the last six meetings.

* Seniors Shavelle Littel, Andrea Walker, Maria Moeller and Cherise Daniel have 107 wins in their careers, two shy of tying the program record of 109 set by the class of 2008.

* With eight assists, Samantha Prahalis set an Ohio State single-season record with 259 assists, breaking the old record of 257 set by Jamie Lewis in 2000-01.

* Jantel Lavender now has 1,942 points, which is third all-time on the Ohio State scoring list.

Dale Earnhardt, Jr. on NASCAR pole for Kobalt Tools 500 race

Dale Earnhardt, Jr. has captured the pole  for the first time since 2008 after Friday’s qualifying for the Kobalt Tools 500 at the Atlanta Motor Speedway.

Earnhardt claimed the pole for Sunday’s race with a eye-opening speed of  192.8 mph. The last time he headed the field was in April 2008 at the Texas Motor Speedway.

Says Earnhardt, “Our team is so hungry to do well”.

Dale Earnhardt, Jr. no wins in 2009 (wfe)

Junior is coming off a terrible 2009 season in which he failed to win a race, cracked the top 10 only 5 times and finished in 25th place in the overall standings eventhough he was racing for Hendrick Motorsports, the best on the NASCAR curcuit.

During the offseason, a major shakeup in his group has given Earnhardt new optimism for 2010. “We got beat down last year. We have a chance to start fresh this year. We have a better team”.

Kyle Busch will start on the outside of the front row, with Juan Pablo Montoya in third. Jeff Gordon qualified fifth  giving  Hendrick Motorsports three of the top five spots. 2009 pole-sitter Mark Martin qualified fourth.

Series leader Kevin Harvick  will start 35th in his Chevrolet.

Byrd set to help Cubs climb new heights in NL Central title chase

Dan Hock is a staff writer for but this week he is filling in as The Guest Writer of the Week

marlon byrd will bat fifth in the Cubs batting order this season

The 2010 Chicago Cubs, coming off an 83 win season after back to back NL Central Division titles in 2007 and 2008, will be banking on a new face to help them rise again to the top.

Marlon Byrd, a 32 year old veteran outfielder who signed a 3-year free agent contract after having his best year with the Texas Rangers in 2009. Byrd, who will be penciled in as the Cubs everyday center fielder, drove in 89 runs while hitting 20 homers for Texas, both career highs.

Chicago, looking to return to having a dominant offense similar to the 2008 divisional champions, hope Byrd will be a big part of the puzzle.

“I look at this as a great opportunity to help this club reach its goal of a World Series,” said Byrd. He continues, “the fans of this team are something special and I want to be able to bring them special memories”.

Byrd, who will be entering his ninth major league season, will man center field by Alfonso Soriano in left field and Kosuke Fukudome in right field.  Cubs manager Lou Piniella says that Marlon Byrd will hit fifth in the batting order.

The Chicago Cubs will open the 2010 major league season in Atlanta, Monday April 5th, in a 3 game series and will conclude their first regular season road trip in Cincinnati with a three game series from April 9 through April 11th.

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