Comcast SportsNetA televised confession by Lance Armstrong isn't enough.Anti-doping officials want the disgraced cyclist to admit his guilt under oath before considering whether to lift a lifetime ban clouding his future as a competitive athlete. That was seconded by at least one former teammate whom Armstrong pushed aside on his way to the top of the Tour de France podium."Lance knows everything that happened," Frankie Andreu told The Associated Press on Tuesday. "He's the one who knows who did what because he was the ringleader. It's up to him how much he wants to expose."Armstrong has been in conversations with U.S. Anti-Doping Agency officials, touching off speculation that he may be willing to cooperate with authorities there and name names.Interviewer Oprah Winfrey didn't say if the subject was broached during the taping Monday at a downtown Austin hotel. In an appearance on "CBS This Morning," she declined to give details of what Armstrong told her, but said she was "mesmerized and riveted by some of his answers."Asked whether the disgraced cyclist appeared genuinely contrite after a decade of fierce denials, Winfrey replied, "I felt that he was thoughtful, I thought that he was serious, I thought that he certainly had prepared for this moment. I would say that he met the moment."She was promoting what has become a two-part special, Thursday and Friday, on her OWN network.Around the same time, World Anti-Doping Agency officials issued a statement saying nothing short of "a full confession under oath" would cause them to reconsider Armstrong's lifetime ban from sanctioned events.The International Cycling Union also urged Armstrong to tell his story to an independent commission it has set up to examine claims that the sport's governing body hid suspicious samples from the cyclist, accepted financial donations from him and helped him avoid detection in doping tests.The ban was only one of several penalties handed to Armstrong after a scathing, 1,000-page report by USADA last year. The cyclist was also stripped of his seven Tour de France titles, lost nearly all of his endorsements and was forced to cut ties with the Livestrong cancer charity he founded in 1997.The report portrayed Armstrong as the mastermind of a long-running scheme that employed steroids, blood boosters such as EPO, and a range of other performance-enhancers to dominate the tour. It included revealing testimony from 11 former teammates, including Andreu and his wife, Betsy."A lot of it was news and shocking to me," Andreu said. "I am sure it's shocking to the world. There's been signs leading up to this moment for a long time. For my wife and I, we've been attacked and ripped apart by Lance and all of his people, and all his supporters repeatedly for a long time. I just wish they wouldn't have been so blind and opened up their eyes earlier to all the signs that indicated there was deception there, so that we wouldn't have had to suffer as much."And it's not only us," he added, "he's ruined a lot of people lives."Armstrong was believed to have left for Hawaii. The street outside his Spanish-style villa on Austin's west side was quiet the day after international TV crews gathered there hoping to catch a glimpse of him. Nearby, members of his legal team mapped out a strategy on how to handle at least two pending lawsuits against Armstrong, and possibly a third.The AP reported earlier Tuesday that Justice Department officials were likely to join a whistleblower lawsuit against Armstrong by former teammate Floyd Landis, citing a source who works outside the government and requested anonymity because he was not authorized to speak on the record about the matter.The lawsuit by Landis, who was stripped of the 2006 Tour de France title after testing positive, alleges that Armstrong defrauded the U.S. government by repeatedly denying he used performance-enhancing drugs. The deadline to join the False Claims Act lawsuit, which could require Armstrong to return substantial sponsorship fees and pay a hefty penalty, is Thursday.Landis is hardly the only one seeking money back from Armstrong.During his long reign as cycling champion, Armstrong scolded some critics in public, didn't hesitate to punish outspoken riders during the race, and waged legal battles against still others in court.The London-based Sunday Times has already filed a lawsuit to recover about 500,000 it paid Armstrong to settle a libel case, and Dallas-based SCA Promotions, which tried to deny him a promised bonus for a Tour de France win, has threatened to bring another lawsuit seeking to recover more than 7.5 million awarded by an arbitration panel.In Australia, the government of the state of South Australia said it will seek the repayment of several million dollars in appearance fees paid to Armstrong for competing in the Tour Down Under in 2009, 2010 and 2011."We'd be more than happy for Mr. Armstrong to make any repayment of monies to us," South Australia Premier Jay Weatherill said.
Pre-camp depth chart
1. Danny Trevathan
2. John Timu
3. Joel Iyiegbuniwe
1. Roquan Smith
2. Nick Kwiatkoski
3. Jonathan Anderson
1. How good can Roquan Smith be?
Making sweeping observations from shorts-and-helmets practices in OTAs is often a fool’s errand, but Smith looked the part while running around the practice fields of Halas Hall after being drafted in April. His quickness and instinctiveness stood out — as they did at Georgia — and his football intelligence and work ethic were praised by coaches and teammates.
“He’s learning well,” Trevathan said. “He’s doing a good job of learning. He’s learning the little things that you need to learn in this defense. Now it’s all about putting on a show and going out there and rocking.”
And that’s what’s going to be fun to watch in Bourbonnais: How does Smith play with the pads on? Chances are, the answer to that question will be “well,” setting the eighth overall pick on a path to being a mainstay of this defense for years to come.
That’s not to say Smith doesn’t have plenty on which to work during training camp. But he left Georgia as a sort of “safe bet” in the draft, and nothing he’s done to this point has changed the view of him that he’s likely going to be a good one.
2. Can Danny Trevathan stay healthy?
In terms of size and athleticism, Trevathan and Smith profile similar to NaVorro Bowman and Patrick Willis, the inside linebacking tandem that was the spine of the San Francisco 49ers defense during Fangio’s time there. But for Trevathan and Smith to reach that lofty bar — or even to come close to it — Trevathan needs to be more available than he was his first two years with the Bears.
This isn’t questioning Trevathan’s toughness — far from it. That he returned for Week 1 of the 2017 season 10 months after rupturing his patellar tending (an injury that can be a career-ender) was impressive, and that he was immediately productive upon returning was even more extraordinary. But Trevathan missed three games in November due to a strained calf, and coupled with a one-game suspension and the seven games he missed in 2016, the 28-year-old has only played in 21 of 32 games since signing with the Bears.
Trevathan is confident he can improve his production in 2018, given he wasn’t able to participate in last year’s offseason program practices. He’s entering his third year in Fangio’s defense and feels better prepared after going through OTAs and minicamps this year. It’s just now about him staying on the field to make sure that work pays off.
“I’m more comfortable with this defense, I’m more comfortable with the guys and the calls that we make,” Trevathan said. “I take pride in being correct and working my tail off and making the defense better. And the more that I can be out there — which I plan on being out there a lot — it’s going to help us tremendously.”
3. How big a role will Nick Kwiatkoski have?
The Bears didn’t draft Smith because they felt like they absolutely needed to upgrade over Kwiatkoski, who’s acquitted himself well in 25 games since being picked in the fourth round of the 2016 draft. But Kwiatkoski has dealt with some injury issues, and for as solid a player as he may be, the Bears’ defense needed (and still needs) more great players. Drafting Smith gave the Bears a shot at adding a great player.
It also leaves Kwiatkoski in the same spot he was in a year ago, when the Bears entered the 2017 season with Trevathan and Jerrell Freeman as their unquestioned starting inside linebackers. Smith still has to earn that starting spot, but the safe bet is he will, relegating Kwiatkoski again to reserve duties.
And that’s a positive for the overall health of this defense, having a player good enough to start ready to play if needed. But it also raises this question: What do the Bears do with Kwiatkoski if he’s one of their four best linebackers, but isn’t one of their two best inside linebackers?
So for the purposes of watching training camp practices, seeing if Kwiatkoski gets any reps at outside linebacker will be an interesting storyline to follow.
WASHINGTON, D.C. — How could someone like Kyle Schwarber play the villain?
The fan favorite who’s always quick with a smile — or an Uncle Sam costume on the Fourth of July — Schwarber doesn’t fit the mold of a loathsome target of boos. But he made quite the heel turn in the minds of Washington Nationals fans Monday night, and of course he knew it was coming.
Schwarber went from getting cheered by the legions in attendance at the Home Run Derby to getting booed when he took on, and eventually lost to, hometown hero Bryce Harper in the final round.
“I was down in the tunnel saying, ‘If we get to the finals, Harp, they’re all going to be against me. I think they’re all going to be against me,’” Schwarber said Monday night. “And then I went out there and got booed after they all got pumped up for me. That’s just the beauty of it, and I was happy for Bryce that he won it in front of the home crowd.”
Harper delivered an incredibly memorable baseball moment Monday night, catching up to Schwarber’s 18 home runs with a ridiculous display of repetitive power to win a Home Run Derby for the ages. The format of this event, revamped a couple years ago, made for a dramatic and hugely entertaining evening. Harper smacked nine homers over the final 47 seconds of the final round to tie Schwarber, then bested him in bonus time. Unsurprisingly, the home crowd was going ballistic for their boy.
But earlier in the night, it was Schwarber getting all the cheers, when he made his own last-second comeback to beat Philadelphia Phillies slugger Rhys Hoskins in the second round. Schwarber was pumping up the crowd, pumping his fists and screaming while putting on a show of his own to catch and pass Hoskins' 20 home runs and advance to the finals.
How quickly the locals forgot.
By the finals — during which Schwarber looked understandably exhausted — the crowd had turned on him, trying to get every advantage for Harper.
“As soon as I got done with that round, I told myself that he had it,” Schwarber said. “I knew that he had the home crowd behind him, and I knew that he was a very prolific power hitter with a great swing. For him to come in and do that and started getting down to the wire, all of a sudden he started racking them up one at a time. You kind of just accept your fate there.”
Perhaps the night could’ve ended differently for Schwarber had he listened more closely to the advice of his teammates, Javy Baez and Willson Contreras, who were quick with Gatorade, a towel and words of encouragement on Monday. Baez hit 16 home runs in his own first-round appearance, though Los Angeles Dodgers slugger Max Muncy knocked him out.
“I was just telling him to slow down,” Baez said. “He was kind of rushing a little bit, that’s why he was jumping to the ball.”
“They were actually giving me really good advice that I didn’t take because I was really dumb-headed,” Schwarber said. “‘Make sure you take some pitches and get the pitch that you want.’ At the end, I felt like I was swinging at everything. I was just running out of gas. I felt like I had to put up as many swings just to try to put a couple out.”
Schwarber was totally content with losing out to Harper’s home-field advantage. Though as his homers flew out deep into the right-field seats Monday night, you couldn’t help but wonder what it would be like if Schwarber was instead taking aim at Sheffield Avenue and getting his own home-field advantage from Cubs fans.
The North Side hasn’t played host to the All-Star Game since 1990, so perhaps Schwarber will still be slugging the next time the Friendly Confines are the site of the Home Run Derby.
“That’d be really cool one day if the All-Star Game’s at Wrigley,” Schwarber said, “and to participate in the Derby, that’d be fun.”