Ex-49er Charged in Former Boyfriend's Beating
Written by The Associated Press Tuesday, 29 January 2013 07:14
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Former San Francisco 49er Kwame Harris has been charged with felony domestic violence and assault charges from an August beating involving a former boyfriend, a prosecutor and defense lawyer said.
Following a pretrial hearing in the case Monday, a San Mateo County judge set a late April trial date for Harris, an offensive tackle who played five seasons with the 49ers and one season with the Oakland Raiders, Assistant District Attorney Al Serrato said.
The charges stem from an altercation outside a Menlo Park restaurant between Harris, 30, and Dimitri Geier, who suffered several facial fractures that required surgery, Serrato said.
Although a handful of former NFL players have come out as gay, none has while still wearing a uniform. Defense lawyer Alin Cintean said Harris, who played for Stanford before he was drafted by the 49ers in 2003 and has gone back to school to finish his undergraduate degree, identifies as gay, but "is not very public about it."
"He is a very private person. He doesn't like to talk about his personal life," he said.
Prosecutors are pursuing the domestic violence charge because the two men used to live together and had an on-again, off-again romantic relationship, Serrato said.
"Whenever we move forward with charges, it's because we believe the evidence is sufficient," Serrato said. "Certainly the injuries are consistent with a serious assault."
Harris has pleaded not guilty and posted $75,000 bail after his arrest, Cintean said. Harris acknowledges he and Geier once were a couple, but says he struck Geier in self-defense, Cintean said.
"Mr. Geier first assaulted my client, and my client had a reasonable response to being assaulted," he said. "Unfortunately, Mr. Geier is the one who ended up with an injury."
News of the charges was reported first Monday by the San Mateo Daily Journal.
Celtics' Rondo Tears Right ACL; Season Over
Written by The Associated Press Monday, 28 January 2013 05:15
BOSTON (AP) — Boston Celtics star point guard Rajon Rondo will miss the rest of the season with a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee.
The news came during Boston's 100-98 double-overtime win over the Miami Heat on Sunday in which Ray Allen returned to his old home court for the first time.
"New guys are going to get an opportunity now," Boston forward Paul Pierce said. "These guys haven't had a chance to really showcase what they can do."
For the past five seasons, Pierce, Allen and Kevin Garnett made up the Big Three. After Allen signed with the Heat as a free agent in the offseason, Rondo joined that group — and became the team leader with his ability to run the offense.
He was chosen as the starting point guard for the Eastern Conference in the All-Star game in Houston on Feb. 17.
Now the Celtics hope he can be ready for the start of next season.
"How far is that?" coach Doc Rivers said, "I don't even know how long that is. Eight months? Nine months? So he'll probably be ready, but I don't know.
Rondo injured his right knee in Friday night's 123-112 double-overtime loss in Atlanta, a game in which the Celtics blew a 27-point lead, but Rivers said he didn't know when.
He reported to the TD Garden on Sunday for a pregame shootaround but was taken to a hospital after complaining of pain.
The initial report was a hyperextended knee, but tests showed the ACL tear.
Rivers said he learned about 25 minutes before the game that Rondo wouldn't play. Word of the injury's severity came during the game.
"He was telling me he thought he pulled his hamstring," Rivers said, "Rondo will be fine. He just will not be fine this year."
The team made the announcement during Sunday's win in the nationally televised game that snapped a losing streak that had reached six games despite back-to-back triple-doubles by Rondo.
"We've just got to rally around each other," Pierce said. "I feel for him. He was having such a good season. It's disappointing news."
As Celtics players walked off the court through a tunnel toward their locker room, Rondo, dressed in street clothes, greeted them.
"I know he's sad. I'm sad for him," starting guard Avery Bradley said. "Whatever Doc wants me to play, that's what I'm going to do."
Rondo was averaging career highs of 13.7 points and 5.6 rebounds along with 11.1 assists this season.
Still, the Celtics are struggling to remain around .500, finishing the day with a 21-23 record, 2 1/2 games ahead of the Philadelphia 76ers for the eighth and final spot in the Eastern Conference.
The Celtics have no true point guard behind Rondo. Rivers said he didn't know if they would try to add one.
Jason Terry, known for his outside shooting, Courtney Lee, Leandro Barbosa and Bradley are the other guards. Each played at least 25 minutes Sunday with Lee starting in Rondo's place.
"We knew something was up at the beginning, but we didn't know how serious it was," Lee said. "Nobody can fill his shoes. That's what makes him great. So the only thing we can do is work as hard as possible and keep the momentum going from this game and have no letup."
Rondo suffered a dislocated left elbow in the playoffs on May 7, 2011, when he became entangled with Miami's Dwyane Wade.
Boston won 97-81, but Miami won the next two games to clinch the second-round series in five games.
Charges Won't Be Filed Against 49ers' Crabtree
Written by The Associated Press Sunday, 27 January 2013 12:18
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Criminal charges won't be filed against 49ers wide receiver Michael Crabtree after an alleged sexual assault in a hotel after the team's playoff victory over the Green Bay Packers, San Francisco's district attorney said Friday.
After examining information submitted by police, District Attorney George Gascon said his office determined that no charges would be filed "at this time."
"The San Francisco Police Department - Special Victims Unit completed and submitted a thorough investigation of the allegations against Michael Crabtree," Gascon said.
Crabtree's attorney, Joshua Bentley, didn't immediately return a call seeking comment.
San Francisco police said Crabtree was never detained or arrested in the matter, and that he cooperated fully with their investigation.
The 49ers are preparing to meet the Baltimore Ravens in the Super Bowl on Feb. 3 in New Orleans.
49ers general manager Trent Baalke said the team was pleased that the district attorney decided to not file charges after reviewing the matter.
"Michael and the team can now put this behind us and move forward," Baalke said in a statement.
During the regular season, Crabtree became the first San Francisco wide receiver with more than 1,000 yards in a season since Terrell Owens in 2003.
Ray Lewis to Retire After Playoffs
Written by DAVID GINSBURG,AP Sports Writer Wednesday, 02 January 2013 16:11
OWINGS MILLS, Md. (AP) — Ray Lewis spent 17 seasons instilling fear in his opponents while serving as an inspirational leader for the Baltimore Ravens.
Now he's poised and eager to become a full-time dad.
Lewis announced Wednesday he will end his brilliant NFL career after the Ravens complete their 2013 playoff run.
Lewis has been sidelined since Oct. 14 with a torn right triceps. The 13-time Pro Bowl middle linebacker intends to return Sunday to face the Indianapolis Colts in what will almost certainly be his final home game.
"Everything that starts has an end," the 37-year-old Lewis said. "For me, today, I told my team that this will be my last ride."
Lewis will walk away from the game because he wants to spend more time with his sons. While working to return from his injury, Lewis watched two of his boys play on the same high school football team in Florida. He intends to see Ray Lewis III perform as a freshman next year for the University of Miami, where the elder Lewis starred before the Ravens selected him in the first round of the 1996 draft.
"God is calling," Lewis said. "My children have made the ultimate sacrifice for their father for 17 years. I don't want to see them do that no more. I've done what I wanted to do in this business, and now it's my turn to give them something back."
That's why Lewis will pull off his No. 52 uniform for the last time after the Ravens lose or claim their second Super Bowl title.
"It's either (that or) hold onto the game and keep playing and let my kids miss out on times we can be spending together," Lewis said. "Because I always promised my son if he got a full ride on scholarship Daddy is going to be there, I can't miss that."
Lewis was the AP Defensive Player of the Year in 2000, the same season he was voted Super Bowl MVP following Baltimore's 34-7 rout of the New York Giants. Lewis was also Defensive Player of the Year in 2003, and is the only player in NFL history with at least 40 career sacks and 30 interceptions.
"I never played the game for individual stats," Lewis said. "I only played the game to make my team a better team."
Lewis has been with the Ravens since they moved from Cleveland. After being drafted 26th overall in Baltimore's first draft, Lewis became a fixture at middle linebacker — and a beloved figure in Baltimore. He remained that way even after his alleged involvement in a double-murder in Atlanta in early 2000.
In June of that year, a judge approved a deal allowing Lewis to avoid murder charges and jail time by pleading guilty to a misdemeanor and testifying against two co-defendants. Within a year, Lewis was in the Super Bowl, leading the Ravens to their only NFL championship.
Hundreds of games later, he's ready to call it a career.
"I'll make this last run with this team, and I'll give them everything I've got," he said. "When it ends, it ends. But I didn't come back for it to end in the first round."
The news of his decision to retire quickly resounded throughout the NFL.
Colts coach Chuck Pagano, who served as Lewis' defensive coordinator last year, said, "I thought, shoot, the guy could play forever and would play forever. Great person, great man, great player, just an unbelievable human being — what he's done for that organization, that city and for that matter, so many people. He's obviously a first-ballot Hall of Famer and will be sorely missed."
Green Bay Packers coach Mike McCarthy said, "I don't know, at least in my time in the league, if there's been a defensive player that's had as big an impact. ... He's really an incredible example of leader. Talk about somebody opening up his chest and giving it to his football team."
Lewis was respected by his peers, too, even those who were on the receiving end of his crushing tackles.
"He definitely inspired me," Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson said. "Just the passion and how he is dedicated to his craft to be the best. You don't see too many guys who play like that. That's definitely what makes him the best linebacker to ever play the game."
Indianapolis standout linebacker Dwight Freeney said, "He's meant a lot to the league in general, but defensive guys especially. This is a league where the most focus goes on offense, quarterbacks and running backs, and very few times do you see a defensive guy get highlighted in commercials or whatever. You see Ray on there, so it's kind of like he's one of us. And you feel good when you see him, the things he's done for the game and how he motivates guys."
Lewis is the key figure in a defense that has long carried a reputation for being fierce, unyielding and downright nasty. He led the Ravens in tackles in 14 of his 17 seasons, the exceptions being those years in which he missed significant time with injuries (2002, 2005, 2012).
Baltimore linebacker Terrell Suggs, who is almost always upbeat, said of the announcement: "It was sad. It affected me, because for the past 10 years of my career I've been sitting right next to the man and going to war on Sundays. It's going to one hard last ride, and we need to make it one to remember."
When Lewis tore his triceps against Dallas, it was feared he was done for the season. But he would have none of that.
"From the time I got hurt, everything I've done up to this point has been to get back with my team to make another run at the Lombardi (Trophy)," he said.
Well, not everything. Lewis spent time watching his boys play football, which caused him to call his rehabilitation "bittersweet." After spending countless hours from Monday through Thursday working to return from the injury, he hopped on a plane toward Florida to be with his boys.
"I got to be there every Friday," Lewis said. "Me being who I am, not having a father myself, that damaged me a lot. I didn't want my kids to relive that.
"One of the hardest things in the world is to walk away from my teammates. But the now I'm going to step into other chapters of my life.
"I knew I couldn't split my time anymore. When God calls, he calls. And he's calling. More importantly, he calls me to be a father. It's OK to be Daddy. Yes, this chapter is closing, but the chapter that's opening is overwhelming. That's what excites me the most."
Lewis could have made the announcement during the offseason.
"I think my fans, my city, I think they deserved for me to just not walk away," he said. "We all get to enjoy what Sunday will feel like, knowing that this will be the last time 52 plays in a uniform in Ravens stadium."
Bears Coach Lovie Smith Among 7 NFL Coaches Fired
Written by The Associated Press Tuesday, 01 January 2013 17:40
Andy Reid is the winningest coach in the history of the Philadelphia Eagles. Lovie Smith led the Chicago Bears to the 2007 Super Bowl.
Now they're looking for work.
Seven coaches and five general managers were fired Monday in a flurry of pink slips that were delivered the day after the regular-season ended.
Ken Whisenhunt is out after helping Arizona reach the Super Bowl following the 2008 season. Also gone: Norv Turner in San Diego, Pat Shurmur in Cleveland, Romeo Crennel in Kansas City and Chan Gailey in Buffalo.
Three teams made it a clean sweep, saying goodbye to the GM along with the coach — San Diego, Cleveland, Arizona. General managers also were fired in Jacksonville and New York, where Rex Ryan held onto his coaching job with the Jets despite a losing record.
Reid was the longest tenured of the coaches, removed after 14 seasons and a Super Bowl appearance in 2005 — a loss to New England. Smith spent nine seasons with the Bears.
Turner has now been fired as head coach by three teams. San Diego won the AFC West from 2006-09, but didn't make the postseason the last three years under Turner and GM A.J. Smith.
"Both Norv and A.J. are consummate NFL professionals, and they understand that in this league, the bottom line is winning," Chargers President Dean Spanos said in a statement.
Whisenhunt was fired after six seasons. He had more wins than any other coach in Cardinals history, going 45-51, and has one year worth about $5.5 million left on his contract. GM Rod Graves had been with Arizona for 16 years, nine in his current position. A 5-11 record after a 4-0 start cost him and Whisenhunt their jobs.
Gailey was dumped after three seasons with the Bills; Shurmur after two; and Crennel had one full season with the Chiefs.
Reid took over a 3-13 Eagles team in 1999, drafted Donovan McNabb with the No. 2 overall pick and quickly turned the franchise into a title contender.
But the team hasn't won a playoff game since 2008 and after last season's 8-8 finish, owner Jeffrey Lurie said he was looking for improvement this year. Instead, it was even worse. The Eagles finished 4-12.
"When you have a season like that, it's embarrassing. It's personally crushing to me and it's terrible," Lurie said at a news conference. He said he respects Reid and plans to stay friends with him, "but, it is time for the Eagles to move in a new direction."
Shurmur went 9-23 in his two seasons with the Browns, who will embark on yet another offseason of change — the only constant in more than a decade of futility. Cleveland has lost at least 11 games in each of the past five seasons and made the playoffs just once since returning to the NFL as an expansion team in 1999.
"Ultimately our objective is to put together an organization that will be the best at everything we do," Browns CEO Joe Banner said. "On the field, our only goal is trying to win championships."
Crennel took over with three games left in the 2011 season after GM Scott Pioli fired Todd Haley. Kansas City will have the No. 1 pick in the NFL draft as a result of having one of the worst seasons in its 53-year history. The only other time the Chiefs finished 2-14 was 2008, the year before Pioli was hired.
"I am embarrassed by the poor product we gave our fans this season, and I believe we have no choice but to move the franchise in a different direction," Chiefs chairman Clark Hunt said in a statement.
Gailey, the former Dallas Cowboys coach, compiled a 16-32 record in his three seasons in Buffalo, never doing better than 6-10.
"This will probably be, and I say probably, but I think it will be the first place that's ever fired me that I'll pull for," Gailey said.
Smith and the Bears went 10-6 this season and just missed a playoff spot. But Chicago started 7-1 and has struggled to put together a productive offense throughout Smith's tenure. His record was 81-63 with the Bears, and he took them to one Super Bowl loss and to one NFC championship game defeat.
Receiver and kick return standout Devin Hester was bitter about Smith's firing.
"The media, the false fans, you all got what you all wanted," Hester said as he cleared out his locker. "The majority of you all wanted him out. As players we wanted him in. I guess the fans — the false fans — outruled us. I thought he was a great coach, probably one of the best coaches I've ever been around."
The fired GMs included Mike Tannenbaum of the Jets; Gene Smith of the Jaguars; Tom Heckert of the Browns; Smith of the Chargers and Graves of Arizona.
"You hope that those guys that obviously were victims of black Monday land on their feet," Rams coach Jeff Fisher said. "You've got guys that have been to Super Bowls and won championship games and all of a sudden they've forgot how to coach, I guess."
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