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Soccer coach kicks annoying fan

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Soccer coach kicks annoying fan

From Comcast SportsNet Friday, September 23, 2011
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) -- Diego Maradona and his deft left foot have struck again, and this time the former Argentina great had to apologize for it. Maradona, who now coaches Al Wasl in the United Arab Emirates, kicked a fan's hand after a match because it was intruding on a photo Maradona was trying to take with a banner of support from his grandson. "As a surprise from my daughters in Argentina and Manchester, they put a sign up for me in the ground that read: 'Grandfather, I'm with you. I love you. Benja,'" Maradona said after a 3-0 win over Emirates in the Etisalat Cup on Thursday. "I'd like to apologize to one of the fans. I was trying to unfurl and see the whole banner and, by mistake, I perhaps injured him." The white banner was attached to a fence, with a throng of fans standing behind it. One of them stuck a hand through the a hole in the fence to lift the bottom of the banner, which had the message in both Spanish and Arabic. The 50-year-old Maradona then pulled the banner down, but the same hand raised it again as several fans tried to get a glimpse of the former Argentina captain. The second time, Maradona appeared to be a bit more perturbed, yanking the banner down with force. When the same fan lifted the banner a third time, it was all too much as Maradona landed a hard kick on the offending hand. He then glared into the camera for the picture. Although he may be more famous for scoring with his own hand, the left-footed Maradona was one of the greatest football players in history. His two most famous goals came in the 1986 World Cup quarterfinals. First, he punched a ball past England goalkeeper Peter Shilton in what has become known as the "Hand of God" goal. Four minutes later, he weaved past four opponents from halfway to beat Shilton for what FIFA later declared the greatest goal in World Cup history. Argentina went on to win the World Cup that year, but Maradona and his teammates lost in the 1990 final. Maradona retired in 1997, but he battled weight and an admitted cocaine habit even before he left the game. He even once fired an air gun at reporters outside his home and was threatened with jail. Maradona turned to coaching in 2008, taking over at Argentina and leading his country to the World Cup in South Africa. But after barely qualifying from the South American region, Maradona unleashed a string of profanities in yet another scandal. Maradona took over as coach of Al Wasl in May. He arrived in Dubai last month to start his two-year contract. His grandson, Benjamin, is the son of Manchester City striker Sergio Aguero and his daughter Giannina.

Recalling moments in Tom Brady history ahead of his likely last meeting with Bears

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USA TODAY

Recalling moments in Tom Brady history ahead of his likely last meeting with Bears

As Tom Brady approaches what in all reasonable likelihood will be his last game against the Bears and in Soldier Field, the first time this reporter saw Tom Brady comes very much to mind. Actually the first times, plural. Because they were indeed memorable, for different reasons.

That was back in 2001, when Brady should have started replacing Wally Pipp as the poster athlete for what can happen when a player has to sit out and his replacement never gives the job back. Drew Bledsoe, who’d gotten the New England Patriots to a Super Bowl, had gotten injured week two of that season. Brady, who’d thrown exactly one pass as a rookie the year before, stepped in and never came out, playing the Patriots into the AFC playoffs the same year the Bears were reaching and exiting the NFC playoffs when Philadelphia’s Hugh Douglas body-slammed QB Jim Miller on his shoulder.

After that the playoff assignments were elsewhere, including the Patriots-Steelers meeting in Pittsburgh for the AFC Championship. Brady started that game but left with an ankle injury and Bledsoe came off the bench to get the Patriots into Super Bowl.

Then came one of those rare moments when you are witnessing history but have the misfortune of not knowing it at the time.

The question of Super Bowl week was whether Bill Belichick would stay with Bledsoe’s winning hand or go back to Brady. Belichick of course waited deep into Super Bowl week before announcing his decision at 8 p.m. on a Thursday night, the second time that season Belichick had opted to stay with Brady over a healthy Bledsoe. And of course Belichick didn’t announce the decision himself (surprise); he had it put out by the team’s media relations director.

You did have to respect Belichick, though, going into his first Super Bowl as a head coach with a sixth-round draft choice at quarterback and leaving a former (1992) No. 1-overall pick with a $100-million contract on the bench. The Patriots upset The Greatest Show on Turf Rams in that Super Bowl, Brady was MVP, and Bledsoe was traded to Buffalo that offseason.

History.

That Super Bowl also included one of those performance snapshots the Bears envision for Mitch Trubisky but missed a chance to let him attempt last Sunday at Miami in his 17th NFL start. Brady took the Patriots on a drive starting at their own 17 with 1:30 to play and no timeouts, ending with an Adam Vinatieri field-goal winner.

If Belichick was all right letting his second-year quarterback in just his 17th start throw eight straight passes starting from inside his own red zone, the next time Matt Nagy gets the football at his own 20 with timeouts and time in hand, best guess is that the decision will be to see if his quarterback lead a game-winning drive with his arm instead of handing off.

It may not happen this Sunday. Brady is a career 4-0 vs. Bears, and if there is one constant it is that his opposite numbers play really bad football against him, or rather his coach’s defense. Bears quarterback passer ratings opposite Brady, even in years when the Bears were good: Jim Miller 51.2 in 2002, Rex Grossman 23.7 in 2006; Jay Cutler 32.9 and Cutler again in the 51-23 blowout in Foxboro. Cutler finished that game with a meaningless 108.6 rating, meaningless because Cutler put up big numbers beginning when his team was down 38-7 after he’d mucked about with a 61.7 rating, plus having a fumble returned for a TD, while the Bears were being humiliated.

A surprise would be if Trubisky bumbles around like his predecessors (New England allows an average opponent passer rating of 91.6), but whether he can produce a third straight 120-plus rating…. Then again, Pat Mahomes put a 110.0 on the Patriots last Sunday night, but Deshaun Watson managed only a 62.9 against New England in game one.

Trubisky will make the third of the three 2017 first-round QB’s to face the Patriots. The first two lost.

Bulls Talk Podcast: The ultimate Bulls briefing to get you ready for Opening Night

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USA TODAY

Bulls Talk Podcast: The ultimate Bulls briefing to get you ready for Opening Night

On this edition of the Bulls Talk podcast, Mark Schanowski sits down with Kendall Gill and Will Perdue to discuss all the need-to-know topics to get you ready for the season opener. The guys analyze how Lauri’s injury will make its mark on the early season rotation, whether Jabari will return to the starting unit or embrace the 6th-man role and why Portis betting on himself is the right move. Plus, Kendall has the key to unlock a “6th Man of the Year” award for Portis this season.

Listen to the full episode here or via the embedded player below: