Oregon State suspends player for tripping ref
Oregon State suspended senior forward Jarmal Reid for at least four games for intentionally tripping a referee. Television replays confirmed that Reid looked Tommy Nunez in the eye before extending his right leg to send the ref tumbling onto the court with three minutes left in a loss to Utah. Reid was upset with Nunez for a no-call when Utah’s Jakob Poeltl appeared to bump him as he drove to the basket. Reid was ejected from the game after tripping Nunez. The player later issued a prepared statement saying his conduct was “inexcusable.” Coach Wayne Tinkle said the length of the suspension will depend on the player’s conduct henceforth. “We are dealing with a 22-year-old young man that we need to help grow through this tough situation.”
Mother of Demaryius Thomas out of prison to see him play
Katina Smith, mother of Denver Broncos receiver Demaryius Thomas, did not get to see her son play football until the Broncos’ divisional playoff game against Kansas City. For 10 years she was in a Florida prison for drug trafficking. She was released pursuant to president Barack Obama’s decision to commute sentences for 46 people who were nonviolent first-time offenders. In announcing the commutation last June, Obama said America “is a nation of second chances.” During her son’s game in Denver, Mrs. Smith wore a customized No. 88 Thomas jersey that said, “Bay Bay’s Mama.”
Broncos threatened Wallace before playoff
Prior to their AFC divisional playoff, the Denver Broncos issued a veiled threat to Pittsburgh Steelers center Cody Wallace. The Broncos were angry with Wallace for a hit that caused a concussion of David Bruton Jr. in December. Bruton, the team’s best coverage safety, had been playing most of the game with a broken leg before Wallace put him out by leaving his feet to slam his helmet against Bruton’s. Darian Stewart, who has shared the free-safety position with Bruton, said Wallace “is going to be sore after the game, that’s how I see it. . . . He comes out on a screen . . . I’m cutting him.” The Steelers accused the Broncos of putting a bounty on Wallace, which the Broncos denied doing. They just wanted to deliver a message that Wallace had gone too far. “Cody could have broken my neck,” Bruton said. “They’ve suspended guys for a lot less.” All the rhetoric aside, there were no incidents this time between Wallace and the Broncos. Denver won a relatively peaceful game 23-16.
Broncos doubt Roethlisberger’s shoulder was hurt
Some Denver Broncos players believe Ben Roethlisberger was lying about his shoulder having torn ligaments prior to the divisional playoff at Denver. “I read through the bluff,” linebacker Von Miller said. Roethlisberger insisted he could not have played had it not been for a pain-killer injection, the first one he’s ever had. “The ligaments will scar up and heal on their own, without surgery.” Roethlisberger said. He passed for 339 yards in the loss to Denver.
Worn turf started Seattle off on the wrong foot
Before the start of their game at Carolina, the Seattle Seahawks were complaining about the worn turf of Bank of America Stadium. Players were frantically changing shoes to find some that would dig into the ground to let them plant their feet. On the first play from scrimmage Panthers tailback John Stewart blew past safety Earl Thomas to score on a 59-yard run that proved critical in a 31-24 Carolina victory. “Earl slipped and fell on the lousy turf,” Seattle coach Pete Carroll said. Panthers coach Ron Rivera said, “I don’t think there was an advantage one way or the other. Once the guys got the right cleats on, they understood what the cleats needed to be.” But that’s just it: being the home team, the Panthers were more aware of the condition of the field and how to react to it.
Newton offends Seattle by disrespecting 12th Man flag
At the end of their game, a 31-24 defeat of the visiting Seattle Seahawks in the divisional playoffs, Carolina QB Cam Newton grabbed a flag from Seahawks fans that proclaims their “Twelfth Man” tradition, which was copied from Texas A&M University. Newton balled up the Seattle flag and hurled it to the ground. KIRO 7 in Seattle publicized a letter from a fan that called Newton “classless” and pointed out that the Twelfth Man “is a community, a family. . . . Disrespecting the 12th Man flag is not just disrespecting the team, it disrespects the fans that back the team.”
Titans shrink from promise of all-out coaching search
After promising to look at 155 candidates to fill the positions of general manager and head coach, the Tennessee Titans met with only six GM candidates and four for head coach before announcing their hires. The interview team, which included managing owner Amy Adams Strunk and team president Steve Underwood, eventually went with Jon Robinson as GM and interim coach Mike Mularkey to become permanent. The hiring of Robinson, formerly of Tampa Bay, was generally well received, but many fans were unhappy that Mularkey, 18-39 as a head coach, was retained. The main reason for keeping Mularkey is his relationship with Marcus Mariota. Underwood called Mularkey “the quarterback whisperer.”
Brian Schottenheimer a journeyman coach at 42
Brian Schottenheimer, 42, has had a succession of disappointing jobs as an offensive coordinator, but he continues to get hired soon after being fired. He was cited as one of the keys to the demise of Mark Richt at the U of Georgia, but this week he was hired by the Indianapolis Colts as quarterback coach. He’s entrusted with the comeback of Andrew Luck, who’s coming off the worst of his four seasons in the NFL. As quarterbacks coach of the San Diego Chargers (2001-5) Schottenheimer was on the same staff as Rob Chudzinski, who’s currently offensive coordinator of the Colts. When he was in San Diego, Schottenheimer worked for his father, Marty Schottenheimer, who was head coach.
Between the Lines: This is a less than lateral move for Schottenheimer, offensive coordinator for the New York Jets (2006-11) and St. Louis Rams (2012-14) before being pushed out of St. Louis and becoming OC at Georgia.