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Bowlen: 2012 'very good' but short of great

Bowlen: 2012 'very good' but short of great

DENVER (AP) Broncos owner Pat Bowlen knows what a great season looks like.

This season wasn't one of them.

In a letter sent to season ticket holders, Bowlen thanked Broncos fans for bringing the passion back to the stadium in this, the first season with Peyton Manning in a Denver uniform.

Denver finished 13-3 and had top seeding in the playoffs but lost to Baltimore on Saturday in the divisional round.

``I said publicly last year that I wanted 2012 to be a great season, not just a good season. We certainly had a very good season and perhaps exceeded a few expectations,'' Bowlen said in the letter obtained by The Associated Press. ``But Broncos fans, you and I know what a great season looks like.''

After last season, when Denver made the playoffs with Tim Tebow at quarterback but still finished with a .500 record, Bowlen said he appreciated the turnaround from 4-12 but he wanted more.

That helped open the door for vice president of football operations John Elway to go after Manning and ship Tebow to the Jets.

With Manning at quarterback, Denver went on an 11-game winning streak to close out the regular season before falling 38-35 to the Ravens.

Bowlen called it ``a gut-wrenching disappointment for everyone who loves the Denver Broncos.''

``I feel terrible for our players, coaches and staff who put forth maximum effort throughout the year,'' Bowlen said. ``They accomplished many great things while falling short of our ultimate goal. But most importantly, my heart aches for you.''

Bowlen's most famous words - ``This one's for John'' - came after the Broncos won the 1998 Super Bowl in Elway's 15th season in the league. Now 68 and largely out of the spotlight, Bowlen said a few years ago he was having some short-term memory loss and some of the memories of Denver's back-to-back titles were fading. He has turned over day-to-day control of the football operation to Elway. But he remains involved.

``That is why I'll soon stop reflecting and start working on one thing for 2013 - bringing another Super Bowl victory back to Denver,'' Bowlen said. ``As we move forward, I am extremely optimistic with the future of our team.''

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AP Sports Writer Pat Graham in Denver contributed to this report.

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Toronto Raptors star Kawhi Leonard out against Wizards

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Toronto Raptors star Kawhi Leonard out against Wizards

The Wizards will catch a break on Saturday night when they host the Toronto Raptors in the second game of their regular season, as Raptors superstar Kawhi Leonard is being held out due to rest.

Leonard, who has been dominant so far for the 2-0 Raptors, is being limited in back-to-backs after he missed 73 games last season due to a quadriceps injury. The Raptors played the night before against the Celtics.

With Leonard out, the Raptors will likely rely on C.J. Miles and O.G. Anunoby at the small forward position. Shooting guard Delon Wright is also out with a shoulder injury.

Though Leonard and Wright are out of the mix, Toronto still has plenty of talent including All-Star point guard Kyle Lowry. Lowry is averaging 21 points, seven assists and 3.5 rebounds through two games. 

Serge Ibaka has been their third-leading scorer with 15 points per game to go along with 6.5 rebounds. They also acquired Danny Green in the Leonard deal and he's off to a strong start with 12.5 points and five rebounds per game.

Leonard's absence may be noticed more on the defensive end, as he is one of the best in the NBA on the perimeter. That could make things a bit easier for Bradley Beal and Otto Porter Jr.

The Wizards and Raptors next play on Nov. 23. That game is in Toronto.

 

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'It's a house divided': The Redskins-Cowboys rivalry is affecting these 'Skins' families

'It's a house divided': The Redskins-Cowboys rivalry is affecting these 'Skins' families

Zach Brown is a fearless player. Turns out, Zach Brown's dad is pretty fearless, too.

That first statement is one you can confirm by watching the Redskins linebacker play each time he takes the field, often times hurt.

The second statement, on the other hand, was confirmed earlier this week in an interview between Brown and JP Finlay about the Washington-Dallas rivalry.

"It got under our skin, knowing we got swept by them [last year]," the defender told Finlay after a weekday practice. "You just hate to go back home and hear them talk so much trash."

The leader of the brave "them" who actually taunt a 250-pound LB following a loss? Oh, just Brown's father, who's a diehard Cowboys supporter.

"My dad was giving it to me," he said while looking back on the 2017 season. "I said, 'Don't worry about it. Next year's gonna be a different movement.'"

"I'm gonna talk trash at the end of this season," Brown added. "It's a house divided."

Adrian Peterson knows what Brown's talking about. The Texas native even went as far as to break down exactly how his own house is divided.

According to him, 75-percent of his family are all about the Cowboys, 10-percent are looking for him to put up good numbers in a 'Boys victory and the final 15-percent have converted to the burgundy and gold.

Rookie corner Greg Stroman can relate as well. The Virginia kid who'll be making his debut in the series he's very familiar with said his grandma and her relatives fall on both sides of the matchup.

Stroman does have one advantage over Brown and Peterson, though. Unlike the two veterans, he was able to get his entire family's rooting interests in order for Sunday, at least.

"They all bought in now," he said.

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