Gutierrez: Mitchell Taking Note of NFL's Crackdown


Gutierrez: Mitchell Taking Note of NFL's Crackdown

Oct. 20, 2010


Paul Gutierrez

ALAMEDA Mike Mitchell was appealing to the Raiders in the 2009 draftout of Ohio, in part, due to his reputation as a game-changing bighitter in the mold of Jack Tatum.

Whether or not the second-year strong safety has reminded anyone inSilver and Blackdom of the late Assassin is besides the point. ButMitchell is coming off the two best games of his young career. And,with his physical style of play, Mitchell has taken a special interestin the NFLs cracking down of illegal hits this week.

Theyve got to do what theyve got to do to keep it safe, Mitchellsaid. Especially this week, theres been a lot of injuries and thatsthe main thing for guys. Were not out here to hurt each other and gethurt. This is a game we play for fun. It a game we love. So obviously,there has to be rules to protect us.

Three players Pittsburgh linebacker James Harrison, New Englandsafety Brandon Meriweather and Atlanta cornerback Dunta Robinson wereeach fined by the NFL on Tuesday for dangerous and flagrant hits thispast weekend. Harrison was docked 75,000 for his blow on Clevelandreceiver Mohamed Massaquoi, while Meriwether, who hit Baltimore tightend Todd Heap, and Robinson, who knocked himself out along withPhiladelphia receiver DeSean Jackson, were slapped with 50,000 fines.An upset Harrison is reportedly contemplating retirement.

I think weve got to watch to make sure were not taking away fromplayers aggressiveness, but I definitely agree that we have to havethese steps taken to crack down a little bit and make this thing alittle safer. I just hope that one day, were not playing flagfootball, Mitchell said.

Two Sundays ago, Mitchell as lauded for his coverage of San DiegosAll-World tight end Antonio Gates. Three days ago, he shadowed the49ers Vernon Davis. Mitchells thoughts?

"Well, Vernon didnt have a catch this week on me so I guess that animprovement, Mitchell said with a smile. I gave up one against Gatesand I gave up none this weekI just want to keep getting better, keepprogressing.

The coaches and the players on my team, I think Im gaining theirrespect, slowly but surely. I just got to keep working and find outwhat I didnt do good last week and improve going into this next game.Thats what this things about 16 games, every week youve just gotto keep getting a little better.

So I asked Mitchell if there was any chance of a letdown this weekgoing against Denvers relatively unheralded tight end duo of DanielGraham and Dan Gronkowski.

Uh, no, Mitchell said with another grin. Because I dont have a nameyet and Im trying to develop a name as being a good player in thisleague. So every opponent I face, Im getting up for.

This is the NFL. Its the best of the best. There are no slouches orany bums or anything like that. Everyone is going to be a great playerso every week Im bringing my A Game and, you know, well just letthe chips fall where they may.

Sharks win second straight, beat Devils to start road trip

Sharks win second straight, beat Devils to start road trip


NEWARK, N.J. — Martin Jones made 28 saves for his first shutout of the season and 16th overall in the San Jose Sharks' 3-0 victory over the New Jersey Devils on Friday night.

Melker Karlsson, Joe Pavelski and Joonas Donskoi scored and Justin Braun had two assists to help the Sharks open a five-game East Coast trip.

Keith Kinkaid, the top goalie for New Jersey with Cory Schneider on injured reserve, stopped 30 shots as the Devils' three-game winning streak came to an end.

The Devils couldn't muster a strong push in the later stages against the rested Sharks. It was New Jersey's second game two nights following a 5-4 overtime victory in Ottawa. And it showed against the Sharks, who played a solid road game, pressed their advantage and solidly supported Jones.

Karlsson scored the lone goal of the opening period at 14:11 on a close-in shot following a slick behind-the-net setup pass from Tomas Hertl.

The shots were 13 for each team in the evenly played period. The Devils came close on several occasions as former Shark Mirco Mueller and Blake Coleman both hit the crossbar and Jones robbed Drew Stafford on a dead-on drive from the slot.

Pavelski and Donskoi got second-period goals as the Sharks steadily tightened their grip on the game.

Pavelski tipped in Braun's point shot at 5:49. Joe Thornton got the second assist, his 1,395th point, to pass Luc Robitaille for 21st on the career list.

Donskoi backhanded a rebound shot with 1:10 left in the period in which the Sharks outshot the Devils 11-6.

The remaining drama centered on Jones' shutout bid.

NOTES: The Devils placed Schneider on injured reserve Friday with a lower-body injury and recalled Scott Wedgewood from Binghamton of the American Hockey League to serve as Kinkaid's backup. ... Mueller, a healthy scratch in three of the previous four games, returned for the Devils to face the Sharks, the team that drafted him in the first round, for the first time. He was dealt to New Jersey over the summer.


Sharks: At the New York Islanders on Saturday night.

Devils: Host Ottawa on Friday night.

Raiders running back Marshawn Lynch suspended one game


Raiders running back Marshawn Lynch suspended one game

Raiders running back Marshawn Lynch watched most of Thursday night’s game versus Kansas City from the stands after getting ejected for making contact with an official.

He’ll also be a spectator next week.

The NFL suspended him one game for unsportsmanlike conduct stemming from an incident where left the sidelines to join an on-field scuffle and ended up pushing an official.

The league announced the suspension Friday afternoon. Lynch has already appealed the suspension, per multiple reports.

He was penalized for unsportsmanlike conduct and automatically ejected by rule.

Punishment after the fact has gotten expensive.

By rule, Lynch will be fined $30,387 for making contact with an official. He could get hit with other penalties, including entering a fight unnecessarily.

Lynch is also suspended without pay, meaning he’ll forfeit a $79,411 game check and a $31,250 per-game roster bonus.

The Cal alum won’t play a Week 8 contest in Buffalo, against a Bills team that drafted him No. 12 overall in 2007.

Lynch was on the sidelines during a third down draw play where quarterback Derek Carr incurred what officials called a late hit from Kansas City cornerback Marcus Peters.

The Raiders offensive line took offense, and came after Peters in a scrum. Lynch and Peters, both Oakland natives, are extremely close. Lynch ran on the field to get between his teammates and his friend, but ended up inadvertently pushing an official. The league has zero tolerance for that, and sent him off the field.

Lynch watched a dramatic 31-30 victory over Kansas City from the stands and screens near the field, and congratulated his teammates after a big win.

Lynch did not explain why he entered the fray, though he seemed to be trying to get Peters out of harm’s way.

“They can say what they want but one thing’s for certain: Family do come first,” Peters told Bay Area News Group’s Logan Murdock.

His Raiders teammates and coaches must carry on without the 31-year old power back. They’ll roll with Jalen Richard, DeAndre Washington and fullback Jamize Olawale against the Bills, as they did against the Chiefs.

Lynch had two carries for nine yards before getting tossed. He has just 266 yards and two touchdowns on 72 carries through seven games.

If the suspension is upheld, Lynch will be eligible to return in Week 9 against Miami.