Capitals

29 years after crash, Rivera enters College Hall

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29 years after crash, Rivera enters College Hall

NEW YORK (AP) Gabe Rivera was maybe the greatest defensive lineman to play at Texas Tech.

They called him Senor Sack. He was an All-American in 1982 and was drafted by the Steelers in the first round in 1983.

He has trouble remembering his playing days now. A car accident during his rookie season left him in a wheelchair and robbed him of some of his memory.

The congratulations that came after he was elected to the College Hall of Fame helped bring back some of those faded memories.

``When people started congratulating me, they'd say `I remember when you did this and did that.' It feels good that they remember those things,'' Rivera said Tuesday.

He was part of a class of 14 players and three coaches inducted into the Hall of Fame on Tuesday night at the national Football Foundation banquet in Manhattan.

Heisman Trophy winner Ty Detmer and former Miami coach Jimmy Johnson also were inducted.

``At this point in your life, you've been removed from football long enough now that you really appreciate those times you had and you kind of take a step back and reflect on all that and all the friends and teammates and coaches you were able to play with,'' said Detmer, who won the Heisman for BYU in 1990.

The other players in the latest Hall of Fame class are LSU tailback Charles Alexander, Purdue halfback Otis Armstrong, California quarterback Steve Bartkowski, Southern California split end Hal Bedsole, Notre Dame tight end Dave Casper, Rice quarterback Tommy Kramer, Syracuse receiver Art Monk, Colorado State defensive back Greg Myers, UCLA offensive tackle Jonathan Ogden, Kansas State linebacker Mark Simoneau, Air Force safety Scott Thomas, and Colorado guard John Wooten.

The other coaches are Phillip Fulmer, who won the first BCS title in 1998 with Tennessee, and R.C. Slocum, who coached Texas A&M from 1989-2002.

Rivera grew up in San Antonio and went to west to play college football in Lubbock for the Red Raiders as a linebacker and a tight end. He went from about 230 pounds to 280 and turned into one of the best defensive linemen in the country.

During his senior season, he had five sacks and 62 solo tackles, including 10 tackles for loss.

He was the 21st overall draft pick in 1983 by Pittsburgh, but in October of that year he got into an automobile accident that left him a paraplegic. He sustained head injuries that caused some lingering memory issues.

He said he tries not to think about could have been.

``You try not to but your mind tells you these things and it's like, I probably could have done that,'' he said. ``It's kind of hard sometimes.''

The 51-year-old Rivera said for several years after his accident, he struggled physically and mentally. It was hard for him to not be bitter.

``From the accident in `83, it took maybe 5, 6, 8 years to get control (of my life),'' he said. ``At one time I just changed my life and started going forward.

He added: ``I was mad at the world, mad at God and stuff.''

He tries now to focus on the good things that have happened to him since the accident - such as meeting his second wife, Nancy. He met her when he hit her with his wheelchair at the San Antonio zoo.

``I still run into her but now she gets mad,'' he said, smiling.

Still, life is not easy.

``It's a struggle for us every day,'' he said.

Rivera said he is susceptible to infections and we went through a stretch five years ago where his health was not good.

``I'm in a good part now,'' he said. ``We control everything. My wife helps tremendously.''

He said when he found out earlier in the year that he had been elected to the Hall of Fame, he was shocked and overjoyed. It also helped him recall the days when he was Senor Sack.

``Nowadays people come up to me, `I remember you running this guy over and doing these things.' Some of the time they say it, and, oh, now I remember. It comes back to me.''

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Game 58: Capitals at Blackhawks Date, Time, How to Watch, Game Thread

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Game 58: Capitals at Blackhawks Date, Time, How to Watch, Game Thread

What: Washington Capitals vs. Chicago Blackhawks

Where: United Center, Chicago, Ill.

When: 8:30 p.m. ET

How to Watch: Capitals-Blackhawks will be broadcast on NBC Sports Washington (Channel Finder)

Live Stream: You can watch the Capitals-Blackhawks game on NBC Sports Washington's live stream page.

You can also stream the game online with no cable TV subscription on fuboTV (try for free!).

WHEN IS THE CAPITALS-BLACKHAWKS GAME?

The Capitals (33-17-7) take on the Blackhawks (24-26-8) Saturday, February 17 at 8:30 p.m. ET in Chicago.

WHAT CHANNEL IS THE CAPITALS-BLACKHAWKS GAME ON?

The Capitals-Blackhawks game will be broadcast on NBC Sports Washington. Coverage kicks off with Capitals FaceOff at 7:30 p.m. followed by Caps GameTime at 8:00 p.m. Stay with NBC Sports Washington for Caps Extra following the game, Caps Overtime at 11:30 p.m. and Caps in 30 at 12:30 a.m. for all your postgame coverage. (NBC Sports Washington channel Finder)

7:30 p.m. — Caps FaceOff
8:00 p.m. — Caps GameTime
8:30 p.m. — Capitals at Blackhawks
11:00 p.m. — Caps Extra
11:30 p.m. — Caps Overtime
12:30 a.m. — Caps in 30

WHAT ARE THE PROJECTED LINES FOR THE CAPITALS-BLACKHAWKS GAME?

Here are the projected lines for the Caps-Blackhawks game:

Forwards
Alex Ovechkin - Nicklas Backstrom - Tom Wilson
Brett Connolly - Evgeny Kuznetsov - T.J. Oshie
Andre Burakovsky - Lars Eller - Alex Chiasson
Chandler Stephenson - Jay Beagle - Devante Smith-Pelly

Defensemen
Christian Djoos - John Carlson
Dmitry Orlov - Matt Niskanen
Brooks Orpik - Madison Bowey

Braden Holtby starts with Philipp Grubauer as backup

Scratches: Jakub Vrana, Taylor Chorney

WHERE CAN I STREAM THE CAPITALS-BLACKHAWKS GAME?

The Capitals-Blackhawks game, as well as Caps GameTime and Caps Extra, is available to stream live here through NBC Sports Washington's live stream page and is available to authenticated NBC Sports Washington subscribers on desktops, tablets, mobile devices and connected TVs anywhere in the United States.

The game is also available to stream, along with all the pregame and postgame shows, on fuboTV (try for free).

CAPITALS-BLACKHAWKS OPEN THREAD

Use the comment section below to discuss the game action with other Capitals fans. 

For all the latest Caps coverage, follow Capitals Insider Tarik El-Bashir, Capitals correspondent JJ Regan and the NBC Sports Capitals account on Twitter. Be sure check out our Capitals page and NBC Sports Washington's Facebook page.

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2018 NBA All-Star Saturday night: TV and live stream info, things to watch for dunk contest, three-point contest

2018 NBA All-Star Saturday night: TV and live stream info, things to watch for dunk contest, three-point contest

The 2018 NBA All-Star Saturday Night is here with the three-point contest, dunk contest and skills competition set for Los Angeles.

Here is all you need to know: TV and live stream info, tip-off time, plus three things to watch:

2018 NBA ALL-STAR SATURDAY NIGHT

Where: Staples Center
Tip-off: 8 p.m.
TV: TNT
Online with no cable TV: fuboTV (try for free)

PODCAST: ALL-STAR WEEKEND PREVIEW, WIZARDS AT THE BREAK 

Skills competition

Participants: Lou Williams, Clippers; Jamal Murray, Nuggets; Al Horford, Celtics; Spencer Dinwiddie, Nets; Joel Embiid, Sixers; Buddy Hield, Kings; Lauri Markkanen, Bulls; Andre Drummond, Pistons

What to know: This year's crop has a fascinating mix of guards and big men and don't sleep on the seven-footers. Embiid in particular has a unique skillset for his size. Still, it's tough to beat the guards. Watch out for Dinwiddie, who is the best passer of the bunch.

RELATED: BETTING ODDS FOR DUNK CONTEST, THREE-POINT CONTEST

Three-point contest

Participants: Klay Thompson, Warriors; Eric Gordon, Rockets; Devin Booker, Suns; Paul George, Thunder; Wayne Ellington, Heat; Bradley Beal, Wizards; Kyle Lowry, Raptors; Tobias Harris, Clippers

What to know: Thompson and Gordon enter the contest as past champions, as Thompson won it in 2016 and Gordon took it home last year. Thompson has the best three-point percentage among the group and is the favorite, but watch out for Beal, a past runner-up, and George who has the second best percentage. Also, Booker is one of the game's best young players and has a very smooth stroke from three.

RELATED: WIZARDS/BULLETS HISTORY ON ALL-STAR SATURDAY NIGHT

Dunk contest

Participants: Dennis Smith Jr.; Mavericks; Donovan Mitchell, Jazz; Larry Nance Jr., Cavaliers; Victor Oladipo, Pacers

What to know: This is all about the rookies, Smith and Mitchell, who most are predicting to win. Oladipo has been in the contest before, but didn't win. He's also the only All-Star of the bunch. Nance is the only guy who isn't a guard and his father won it back in 1984. It will be interesting to see if he does some sort of nod to his old man, now 34 years later.

RELATED: LATEST NBA POWER RANKINGS