Sandusky seeks less harsh Pa. prison setting

Sandusky seeks less harsh Pa. prison setting

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) A lawyer for former Penn State assistant Jerry Sandusky said Friday his client has gotten his fighting spirit back after his child abuse conviction and sentencing and hopes prison officials will find a way to house him under less restrictive conditions than he currently experiences.

Karl Rominger said after spending several hours with Sandusky at Greene State Prison in southwestern Pennsylvania on Friday that Sandusky's outlook has improved since he was sentenced two months ago to decades behind bars. He said they discussed pending post-sentencing motions and plans for an appeal.

``I was meeting with a man who was again ready to press forward, who has regenerated his energies and has clearly devoted his time and energy to perfecting that appeal,'' Rominger said. ``His fight is 100 percent back.''

Rominger said Sandusky, 68, rates as a Level 2 inmate on a five-level security classification but is being kept under much more severe Level 5 conditions. He said Sandusky is alone in his cell for 23 hours a day during the week and around the clock on weekends.

Rominger said Sandusky has been allowed two phone calls a month, while other Level 5 prisoners get only one. Sandusky also has been issued a television, which Rominger said would not be the case for a typical Level 5 prisoner.

He said he planned to write to the prison's warden.

``We're not completely devoid of common sense,'' Rominger said. ``We understand the prison system is trying to balance their concerns about physical safety. We are just looking for middle ground.''

Sandusky, a former assistant to head football coach Joe Paterno, was convicted in June of sexually abusing 10 boys, some on campus. He didn't testify at his trial but has maintained his innocence. He's serving a 30- to 60-year sentence.

The abuse scandal rocked Penn State, bringing down Paterno and the university's then-president and leading college sports' governing body, the NCAA, to levy unprecedented sanctions against the university's football program. Criminal charges are pending against three former high-ranking university officials accused of helping to cover up abuse complaints, but they say they're innocent.

Sandusky's post-sentencing motions will be the subject of arguments before a judge Jan. 10 in Bellefonte, and Rominger said preparations would be much easier if Sandusky had more regular access to a phone.

Family members have visited Sandusky, but Friday was the first time he has met with his legal team at the prison.

``It's a tough life, Level 5,'' Rominger said. ``And I know some people in the public will say, `Who cares?' But the answer is, I thought we believe in equality in America. And while he's a convicted sex offender in Pennsylvania, he would like to be treated like every other convicted sex offender.''

Sandusky believes he would be safe in the prison's general population, Rominger said.

``He said to me he can understand where some of the concern comes from, but he's not happy being stuck in a cell 23 hours a day,'' Rominger said.

Greene State Prison, where most of Pennsylvania's death row inmates are kept, contains 1,800 prisoners and employs a staff of 700.

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Road ahead suggests a wild finish in Eastern Conference playoff race

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Road ahead suggests a wild finish in Eastern Conference playoff race

The Eastern Conference standings are so closely bunched as of today that the third-place Cleveland Cavaliers are only 1 1/2 games ahead of the sixth-place Philadelphia 76ers. With roughly a dozen games remaining for each NBA team, much can and likely will change over the next several weeks.

That is common for this time of the year, but a closer look suggests we could be in for some chaos in the final stretch. There are lopsided remaining schedules and impending personnel changes which could all contribute to one of the wildest regular season finishes in recent memory.

The Wizards are smack dab in the middle of the East playoff race and have their own circumstances to navigate. Let's take a team-by-team look at the middle of the Eastern Conference playoff picture, knowing the top two seeds are all but locked up by the Toronto Raptors and Boston Celtics...


3. Cleveland Cavaliers (41-29, 12 games left)

Monday was a crazy day for the Cavaliers. First, they announced their head coach Tyronn Lue is taking a leave of absence to deal with an undiagnosed health issue. He will be replaced by associate head coach Larry Drew in the interim as he hopes to heal up before the playoffs.

Then, news broke they were getting Kevin Love back from a broken wrist after missing 21 games. Love returned to put up 18 points, seven rebounds, four assists and two blocks in a big win over the Milwaukee Bucks. 

The Cavaliers will be without their coach for an undefined period of time, but now have their second-best player back on the court. That makes their final part of the season extra fascinating.

The Cavs are the team to watch of this group. Even though this season has been filled with turmoil, they still have LeBron James. He and Love have helped form the core of the last three Eastern Conference champion teams. If they pick things up, it's not crazy to consider them among the favorites to get out of the East again.


4. Indiana Pacers (41-30, 11 games left)

The Pacers are mostly healthy as they only feature a slew of minor injuries to big men Myles Turner and Domantas Sabonis. But Indiana's remaining schedule is unusually tough and it could make the difference in where they end up.

With only 11 games remaining, the Pacers still have to play the first-place Toronto Raptors once and the Golden State Warriors twice. Six of their last eight games will be on the road. They also see the Heat, Pelicans, Nuggets and Clippers.

The Clippers are currently ninth in the West and battling to make the playoffs. The Pacers will play them twice.

Keep in mind the Wizards own the season series over Indiana and will have a playoff seeding tiebreaker if they end up with the same record. Also worth noting is the Pacers have been much better at home (24-13) than on the road (17-17) this season.


5. Washington Wizards (40-30, 12 games left)

Though the Wizards' schedule is finally letting up soon from the 13 straight playoff teams stretch they have had to endure dating back to February, they too have a tough road ahead. The Wizards still have to play the Spurs (twice), Rockets, Cavaliers, Celtics and Nuggets. Four of their last six games are on the road and they have three back-to-back sets in their final seven games.

That's brutal. They may not have to see the defending champions twice like Indiana does, but the Wizards don't exactly have it easy.

The Wizards will, however, get John Wall back at some point. The five-time All-Star is slowly but surely working his way back and could participate in a full practice by the end of the week. Ideally they will get some games under his belt before the playoffs, but any time an All-NBA player is coming back to your team it's a good thing.

The problem is that there is little room for error in the standings and head coach Scott Brooks will have to reinsert Wall into the lineup during a tough schedule and while Wall is on a minutes restriction. It will be a tricky task to balance his lineups. 


6. Philadelphia 76ers (39-30, 13 games left)

The Sixers may have the most ideal road ahead of these four teams, at least in terms of their schedule. They still have the Timberwolves, Nuggets, Cavs and Bucks. But none of those teams are the juggernauts that Golden State, Houston and Toronto are. And of their final 13 games, the Sixers will play nine against teams outside of the playoff picture.

Philly also does not have to reincorporate a major piece into their rotation, like the Cavs do with Love and the Wizards with Wall. Their biggest injury is to Markelle Fultz, the 2017 No. 1 overall pick. If he does return this season, it will likely be in a minimal role, at least to start.

What could work against the Sixers is their inexperience and recent struggles against good teams. The Sixers are relying on very young players who have never been here before to carry the way. And since Valentine's Day, Philly has just one win against a team above the .500 mark, when they beat the Cavs on March 1. During those 14 games since Feb. 14, they have beaten up on the bad teams but lost to the Wizards, Bucks, Pacers and Heat (twice), basically all the teams surrounding them in the standings. 

Philly also lost their season series against the Cavs and Pacers, tied with the Wizards and are down 2-1 against the Bucks with one game to go. They may go to the finish line without a playoff tiebreaker against all the teams they would want one against.

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Ryan Grant reportedly signing with Colts after failed physical with Ravens

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Ryan Grant reportedly signing with Colts after failed physical with Ravens

It looks like Ryant Grant has found his new home, again.

After a failed physical with the Ravens, James Jones of NFL Network reports Grant plans to sign with the Colts.


Grant originally agreed to a four-year, $29 million deal with the Ravens, before the team pulled the offer citing an ankle injury that dated to the Redskins' final regular-season game, according to reports.

Baltimore eventually signed Michael Crabtree to a three-year deal, while Grant had visits with the Colts and Raiders.

His agent, Rocky Arceneaux, says Grant has been working out, running routes, and his ankle had been cleared by Dr. Robert Anderson in a second opinion.

In 2017 with the Redskins, he appeared in all 16 games, with 45 receptions for 573 yards and four touchdowns.