Nationals

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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Anthony Rendon reaches home run milestone

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USA Today Sports

Anthony Rendon reaches home run milestone

For a guy whose nickname reflects how many doubles he hits, Anthony Rendon has quite the power as well.

Rendon, referred to as "Tony Two Bags" by the Washington Nationals' faithful, hit his 100th career home run on Thursday night. 

The home run came off New York Mets pitcher Jason Vargas, who has been magnificent in his two starts against the Nationals this season. Vargas had not allowed a run against the Nationals in 2018 until Rendon took him deep.

The home run was Rendon's 22nd of the season. This is the third consecutive year that Rendon has posted 20 or more home runs, and the fourth time in the 28-year-old's career that he has reached that milestone.

 

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The 2005 draft link that bonds the Redskins and Packers ahead of Week 3

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AP

The 2005 draft link that bonds the Redskins and Packers ahead of Week 3

Looking back at NFL Drafts can be a frustrating task for Redskins fans. Missed opportunities and botched picks litter the record books, though the organization has made plenty of good picks, too. 

This weekend marks an interesting intersection of past drafts and current reality when Aaron Rodgers and the Packers come to visit the Redskins and Alex Smith.

Way back, in the 2005 NFL Draft, the 49ers selected Smith with the No. 1 overall pick. He was a major prospect and the consensus top pick in the draft coming out of an outrageous year playing under Urban Meyer at the University of Utah. 

Later that same draft, all the way down to the 24th pick, Green Bay took Aaron Rodgers out of the University of California Berkeley. At the time, the selection turned heads, as the Packers had future Hall of Famer Brett Favre at QB. 

The Rodgers pick turned out to be pretty smart, to say the least. Smith’s tenure in San Francisco had high points, but nothing that lived up to his lofty draft position. 

Rodgers and Smith have talked about being from the same draft class, and the two have developed a friendship off the field. 

“You know, he's a decent player,” Smith joked about Rodgers on Wednesday. 

“He and I [have] been around each other a lot of time now, always linked, pretty good buddies. Certainly, kind of I think follow each other's career from afar.”

Fair or not, Smith and Rodgers have been linked ever since that 2005 draft. Those weren’t the only two QBs taken that year though. 

The Redskins selected Jason Campbell out of Auburn with the 25th pick. If Rodgers had slipped just one more spot, maybe the Redskins take Rodgers instead.

Just to make one more connection, albeit an odd one, but Rodgers wasn’t even the only guy with that last name taken in 2005.

The Redskins selected cornerback Carlos Rogers with the ninth overall pick. Imagine if they took the QB with the slightly different last name. 

 

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