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Chiefs' Brady Quinn shines in time of trouble

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Chiefs' Brady Quinn shines in time of trouble

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) This should have been a big week for Brady Quinn.

The Kansas City Chiefs quarterback is coming off one of the best games of his career, helping his team win for only the second time this season. He's heading back to Cleveland, where he washed out as a first-round draft pick, brimming with confidence in his strong right arm.

But as with the rest of the Chiefs, everything in Quinn's world has been cast in shadow.

Rather than going to a postgame news conference and answering questions with pride, he stood before the bank of television cameras and talked about a tragedy. It had been barely 24 hours since linebacker Jovan Belcher killed his girlfriend and then turned the gun on himself.

The way Quinn handled the situation was almost universally praised, and showed the kind of leadership ability that so far in his NFL career he's yet to truly replicate on the field.

``Well, Brady has been very level-headed all along,'' Chiefs coach Romeo Crennel said. ``He handles himself very well, and as a quarterback, he is somewhat a born leader, because you have to be a leader to be a quarterback. And he displayed that leadership last weekend.''

There were plenty of expectations placed on Quinn when he was drafted by the Browns out of Notre Dame. Perhaps the weight of them proved to be too much, because he never managed to lead a franchise that only now is coming out of a morass to much success.

He was eventually dealt to Denver, where he couldn't climb over Kyle Orton and Tim Tebow on the depth chart. So when free agency hit, Quinn packed his bags and headed for Kansas City, where he hoped the tenuous grasp that Matt Cassel had on the starting job would prove him an opportunity.

It didn't come until Cassel sustained a concussion, allowing Quinn to move into the lineup. He showed plenty of rust in a loss at Tampa Bay, and then sustained his own concussion the following week against Oakland, putting Cassel back under center.

But once Quinn was cleared to play, he was back leading the Chiefs.

On the field and, more importantly, away from it.

``I feel like I can do a decent job of adjusting to pretty much anything,'' Quinn said. ``I don't know. I think anytime you have an opportunity to play more and get more experience, you're going to continue to grow and improve as a player.''

The Chiefs weren't even certain they'd have a game Sunday until hours after Saturday morning's shootings, when team captains voted to play their game against the Carolina Panthers as scheduled.

The team arrived at Arrowhead Stadium long before kickoff, went through the same pre-game routine as usual - save for a moment of silence to remember victims of domestic violence. Then the game started, and for just a few hours on an unseasonably warm afternoon, things seemed normal.

The coaching staff relayed plays to Quinn, he crouched behind center and read the defense. He took the snap, dropped back and kept finding open receivers. Again and again, all day long.

He completed 19 of 23 passes for 201 yards, the best completion percentage of his career in a game he's started. Quinn threw touchdown passes to Jon Baldwin and Tony Moeaki without throwing an interception, the first scoring tosses he'd thrown since Dec. 6, 2009, when he was with the Browns. His quarterback rating of 132.1 was the second-best of his career.

``He had an outstanding game,'' said Browns coach Pat Shurmur.

It was after the game that he was truly outstanding, though.

The locker room was opened and players were forced to speak publicly for the first time about a pair of shootings that changed their lives. There were tears mixed with mud on many of their faces, but not the tears of joy over ending an eight-game losing streak.

As usual, the quarterback was summoned to the microphone in the auditorium just outside the locker room, and there Quinn was asked about the incident the previous day.

``I don't think anybody ever imagines waking up the day before a game and, you know, getting informed that a player, a leader on your team, has done something like that,'' he said.

Speaking from his heart, Quinn continued on.

``I think trying to understand the situation was tough, or getting a sense of what happened and who it will now affect,'' he said. ``In moments, tragedies like this, they can define you or redefine you, and I think this team took an event and allowed it to redefine us as a team. We were battling through a lot of emotions, a lot of difficulty on the field, and guys stepped up and played a heck of a game.''

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Wizards vs. Hornets: TV, live stream and radio info, things to watch

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USA TODAY Sports

Wizards vs. Hornets: TV, live stream and radio info, things to watch

Bradley Beal, Otto Porter, Kelly Oubre, Jr. and the Washington Wizards battle Kemba Walker, Dwight Howard, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and the Charlotte Hornets on Friday night.

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

WASHINGTON WIZARDS VS. CHARLOTTE HORNETS

Where: Capital One Arena
Tip-off: 7 p.m.
TV: NBC Sports Washington (coverage begins at 6 p.m.)
Live stream: NBCSportsWashington.com
Radio: 1500 AM

On a roll

The Wizards have some serious momentum going right now. With an impressive win over the Cavs on Thursday, they have now won three straight games and eight of 10 since John Wall went down with a left knee injury. They had a week off due to the All-Star break, but didn't show any rust at all in their first game back.

The Wizards are now 34-24, 10 games above the .500 mark. They are fourth in the East and could move into third on Friday if they win and the Cavaliers lose. Even with Wall out, things continue to look up for Washington.

PODCAST: BIGGEST STORYLINES COMING OUT OF ALL-STAR BREAK

Hornets have had their number

The Wizards haven't done so well against the Hornets so far this season. Charlotte has taken both meetings and that includes a 24-point win on Jan. 17. That game featured Dwight Howard taunting the Wizards late in the fourth quarter.

Howard has killed the Wizards through two games with averages of 22.0 points and 14.0 rebounds. Jeremy Lamb (20.0 ppg vs. Wizards) has been a big factor as well as All-Star Kemba Walker (21.5 ppg vs. Wizards).

The last time these teams played about a month ago frustrations boiled over in an incident that got Tim Frazier ejected. Michael Carter-Williams picked a fight with Jason Smith and Frazier went off:

RELATED: BEAL IMPRESSED BY LEBRON AT ALL-STAR GAME

Hornets coming in hot

The Hornets are outside the playoff picture at the moment at eight games below .500, but they have won two straight games and Walker and Howard are coming off huge games. In a win over the Brooklyn Nets on Thursday, Walker dropped 31 points and Howard grabbed 24 rebounds.

Those guys will be riding a high coming into Washington on Friday. But it should be noted that Howard complained after the game how tired he is at this point in the season. That exhausion could affect him more in the second game of a back-to-back.

RELATED: LATEST NBA POWER RANKINGS

 

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Need to Know: The most overrated Redskins events of 2017

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Usa Today Sports Images

Need to Know: The most overrated Redskins events of 2017

Here is what you need to know on this Friday, February 23, 19 days before NFL free agency starts.

I’m out this week so I’ll be re-posting some of the best and most popular articles of the past few months. Some may have slightly dated information but the major points in the posts still stand. Thanks for reading, as always.

The overrated Redskin moments of 2017

Originally published 12/30/17

Sometimes in the NFL, something happens that grabs headlines and appears to be a momentous event that has ripple effects that will last all season and perhaps beyond. Other times something that is greeted with a yawn by fans and the media turns out to be something with lasting impact. Yesterday we looked at three events that were underrated at the time they happened. Here, in no particular order, are three overrated events from 2017.

Beating the Raiders—At the time, the Raiders were 2-0 and they still had the status of being one of the favorites to get to the Super Bowl. The Redskins whipped them 27-10 and the prevailing view was that the Redskins were on their way to a special year. But that loss started a four-game losing streak for the Raiders. They are currently riding a three-game skid and at 6-9 they are contenders for a top-10 draft pick, not for the Super Bowl. The win became less impressive for the Redskins as the year went on.

Signing Terrelle Pryor—There was plenty of excitement when the Redskins signed the Browns wide receiver, who had 1,000 receiving yards catching passes from a sub-mediocre group of quarterbacks in Cleveland. Imagine what he could do with a quality QB and a good offense around him. The hype grew when a fan captured him making this catch in training camp:

But the production was not there. In nine games before going on injured reserve with an ankle injury, Pryor caught 20 passes for 240 yards and a touchdown.

Su’a Cravens departure—There was a lot of concern about issues both on and off the field when Cravens abruptly let it be known to teammates that he intended to retire just after the Redskins finalized their 53-man roster on September 2. All offseason Cravens’ name had been written at the top of the depth chart at strong safety in Sharpie. When he walked away and was put on the Exempt/Left Squad list (and eventually on the Reserve/Left Squad list, ending his season), there was plenty of speculation about whether the organization botched the situation and, of more immediate importance, what would happen at safety without Cravens. We’re still not sure about what happened but Montae Nicholson and Deshazor Everett did a respectable job at safety.

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page Facebook.com/TandlerNBCS and follow him on Twitter @TandlerNBCS.

Timeline  

Days until:

—NFL Combine (3/1) 6
—NFL Draft (4/26) 62
—2018 NFL season starts (9/9) 198