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'Bama QB's girlfriend in spotlight after title win

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'Bama QB's girlfriend in spotlight after title win

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP) - A day after ESPN cameras lingered on her, announcers piled on compliments and at least one pro athlete made an online pass at her, Twitter was still abuzz Tuesday about former Miss Alabama USA Katherine Webb, who is dating Crimson Tide championship quarterback AJ McCarron.

Webb gained tens of thousands of Twitter followers during and after Alabama's 42-14 win over Notre Dame on Monday to claim its third national championship in four seasons. For her part, the surprised beauty pageant queen isn't taking it too seriously.

``It's been actually kind of fun,'' the 23-year-old model and Miss Alabama USA 2012 told The Associated Press.

She said at the time it all started, she was oblivious in the stands, sitting near McCarron's mother. Her iPhone had died so she didn't know about the attention until friends seated nearby showed her what was happening on Twitter and pointed out that her picture was on TV.

``I just couldn't believe it,'' said Webb, who, according to her pageant biography, graduated with a business degree from Alabama rival Auburn University in 2011. ``I was just in complete surprise.''

Dee Dee Bonner, McCarron's mother, said the two laughed as Webb's Twitter count grew.

``We were like, `Oh my God,''' Bonner said. ``She said, `All I want to do is date your son.' We've been laughing about it. It's quite shocking.''

ESPN announcer Brent Musburger remarked that Webb was a beautiful woman as the cameras revisited her. ``Wow, I'm telling you quarterbacks: You get all the good-looking women,'' he said.

Some found the remarks from the 73-year-old Musburger out of line. On Tuesday, ESPN released this statement: ``We always try to capture interesting storylines and the relationship between an Auburn grad who is Miss Alabama and the current Alabama quarterback certainly met that test. However, we apologize that the commentary in this instance went too far and Brent understands that.''

But Webb said Musburger's comments didn't bother her.

``It was kind of nice,'' she said. ``I didn't look at it as creepy at all. For a woman to be called beautiful, I don't see how that's an issue.''

As of 6 p.m. Tuesday, Webb had topped 175,000 Twitter followers, trumping McCarron's 114,000. Before the game, she reportedly had about 2,000.

Webb told the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer that she first encountered McCarron on Twitter, and they met in early December when he attended the Miss Alabama USA pageant in Montgomery. Her biography says she was born in Montgomery and grew up in Phenix City, but now lives in Los Angeles - though Bonner said she is considering moving back to Alabama to be with McCarron.

Before Monday's game, Webb tweeted a photo of herself wearing a jersey with McCarron's number, her arms wrapped around him.

Early Tuesday, Webb posted her first tweet to her new followers: ``So extremely blessed... (at)10AJMcCarron. Congrats to Alabama and making history! (hash)BCSChamps.''

Webb later said she doesn't think McCarron minds the attention on her.

But when Arizona Cardinals defensive end Darnell Dockett tweeted Webb his telephone number and suggested they meet after the game, McCarron responded, telling Dockett, ``(hash)betterkeepdreaming like the rest of these dudes.''

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Associated Press writer John Zenor contributed to this report.

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Redrafting the 2003 draft: Patrice Bergeron could have been a Penguin

Redrafting the 2003 draft: Patrice Bergeron could have been a Penguin

It takes years to determine who the best players in any given draft are. How would past NHL drafts look if they were redrafted today? Let's look back at the 2003 draft and see how it shaped today's NHL.

Here's a look at the first round of 2003 redrafted.

The draft was a total bust for Washington

In the real draft, the Caps took Eric Fehr 18th overall. He played in 652 NHL games. The remaining five players the team drafted combined for one single NHL game. Yikes.

Phaneuf to the Caps?

In the redraft, I had defenseman Dion Phaneuf going to Washington. Before you groan, let's not forget that he played in over 1,000 NHL games and, while he was with Calgary, he looked absolutely dominant. I don't think there are any questions that he struggled handling the pressure as captain of Toronto. Almost every stat takes a precipitous decline when you compare his Calgary numbers to when he was with the Maple Leafs. I don't think that would have been a problem in Washington as just one year after this draft, the Caps selected a guy by the name of Alex Ovechkin who took all the attention. If Phaneuf had been in a city where he could just play, he would have been a top-pair defenseman for most of his career.

This also would have affected the 2004 draft for Washington. The Caps had three first-round picks. They used one on Ovechkin then took Jeff Schultz and Mike Green late in the round. Do they go both defense at that point if they had taken Phaneuf the year before? I'm not so sure.

Would Bergeron have helped Pittsburgh?

Patrice Bergeron was the best player in the 2003 draft. He went with the 45th overall pick to the Boston Bruins. The Pittsburgh Penguins had the No.1 overall pick that year and selected goalie Marc-Andre Fleury. That is not a bad pick by any stretch, but with one of the best two-way forwards of all-time available to them, would Pittsburgh have been able to pass him up knowing how good he really was?

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The interesting thing about this is that if Pittsburgh had taken arguably the better player in Bergeron, it may have cost them in the long run. Fleury was the backstop of three Stanley Cup runs for the Penguins. OK, so he only played in two playoff games in 2016 and yielded the crease to Matt Murray, but he retook the No. 1 job in 2017 when again Pittsburgh won the Cup. Also, just two years after the 2003 draft, the Penguins ended up with a pretty decent two-way center by the name of Sidney Crosby. The idea of a team with both Crosby and Bergeron on it is daunting, but its two players of the same position and they would have still needed a goalie.

The Penguins may not have ended up with the better player overall, but they did get exactly the player they needed in Fleury.

Fleury to Columbus?

In the redraft, Fleury dops from first to fourth and is snagged by the Columbus Blue Jackets. Would Fleury have been able to get Columbus over the playoff hump sooner? That's a tough question to answer.

Goaltending has not been a major weakness for Columbus. Yes, he could have given the team a boost, but the roster was awful there for several years after the expansion draft. When the team did finally make the playoffs for the first time in 2009, it was off the back of an incredible rookie season from goalie Steve Mason. They also had a pretty good netminder in Sergei Bobrovsky from 2013 to 2019, or at least he was pretty good in the regular season.

Correction: regular season goaltending has not been a major weakness for Columbus. Actually, Bobrovsky was terrible in the playoffs for much of his career. Perhaps there is some validity to the argument that better netminding from Fleury -- who is a strong postseason performer -- could have potentially changed the trajectory of the franchise.

See the first round of 2003 redrafted here.

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Redskins Superlatives: Two tremendous leaders earn the Most Likely to Become President Award

Redskins Superlatives: Two tremendous leaders earn the Most Likely to Become President Award

This week, JP Finlay and Pete Hailey will be handing out Redskins Superlatives as they continue to preview the 2020 season.

Next up: They give their Most Likely to Become President Award to a fan favorite and the franchise's newest leader.

JP's pick: Terry McLaurin

There is nothing Terry McLaurin can't do and he's got my vote for president should he ever decide to run. Beyond the breakout rookie year, the precise route running and his blazing speed, McLaurin talks like a 10-year veteran.

This offseason has been hard for everyone, but McLaurin explained things better than most: "Football is what I love to do. I can’t think of a better blessing in my life to be playing the game that I love. When you get through the course of such a long NFL season and you get to the end, it’s like man, I’m ready for that break. That burning desire is still inside of you to continue to get better and continue to improve. Now with us having a new staff, we’re just all looking forward to being on the field again. I feel like sports is something that this country needs as well. The camaraderie of it, the togetherness that it brings."

Put McLaurin on the ballot — but ideally after a 15-year career with a whole lot of postseason success.

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Pete's pick: Ron Rivera

JP and I didn't go to school together — that's because he's a LOT OLDER than me — but if we did, it would've been a surprise if we ever got an A-plus on the same assignment. In fact, it would've been a huge surprise, and perhaps an impossibility.

But in this instance, we're both getting an A-plus. He nailed his pick, and I'm nailing mine. 

Ron Rivera hasn't been with the Redskins long, and due to this unusual offseason, the media hasn't gotten to hang around him much in person, aside from his introductory press conference in January and some time at the Combine. 

Even so, we have still talked to him plenty on Zoom, and in all of those instances, I've been floored by his leadership, his intelligence and his perspective on everything, both football-related topics and topics that relate more to life overall. 

RELATED: RIVERA ON NOT SIGNING CAM NEWTON

At this point, I'm pretty much convinced every company or group in the world would be better with Rivera involved. He's fair, he's level-headed and he simultaneously gives and commands respect. 

For now, Rivera's just in the running for an NFC East title, but if he ever sets his sights on running for office, he'll have one mediocre blogger on his side.

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