Frazier & Kubiak go from teammates to opponents

Frazier & Kubiak go from teammates to opponents

HOUSTON (AP) Corey Frazier and Klein Kubiak are teammates at Rice and friends off the field.

But on Sunday they'll be pulled in different directions. Their fathers - Minnesota Vikings coach Leslie Frazier and Houston Texans coach Gary Kubiak - will be on opposite sidelines.

``The first thing he said to me when I saw him on Sunday was that me and him were enemies from here on out this week,'' Corey said. ``That just started it off, and there's been a lot of little jawing back and forth, a lot of little remarks.''

Corey and Klein both plan to be on the sidelines with their fathers for Sunday's game, where the Texans need a win to secure a first-round bye and home-field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs. The Vikings are trying to keep their postseason hopes alive with Adrian Peterson entering the game just 294 yards shy of breaking the NFL single-season rushing record - a fact that Corey has mentioned often.

``He's got a pretty big card in (Peterson), so he's been building that one up,'' Klein said, laughing. ``We've gone back and forth.''

Corey got to Rice first, and Klein didn't realize his father also coached in the NFL until Gary mentioned it to him. They've since become close after bonding over the shared experiences of growing up with fathers who were NFL coaches.

``We just had so much common ground,'' Corey said. ``Our parents both have similar qualities, similar rules as to how they want us to live our lives, and since we are under so much scrutiny that made me and Klein pretty close.''

The pair find it odd that they ended up at the same school because their fathers, who both played in the NFL before moving to coaching, have known each other for decades.

``That is pretty interesting,'' Gary said. ``I've got a lot of respect for Leslie and the job he does. His son does a (heck) of a job at Rice, too. It's been pretty cool ... you kind of take that for granted.''

Leslie said their sons playing together has given himself and Gary a unique opportunity to interact away from the high-pressure world of NFL coaching.

``We get a chance to sit in the stands and mingle at the spring game and so on,'' Leslie said. ``It's a good relationship and I'm just happy for what he's done.''

Klein, a junior receiver, and Corey, a senior safety redshirting after an injury, will return to being friends after Sunday's game as Rice prepares for its first bowl appearance since 2008 when it faces Air Force in the Armed Forces Bowl on Dec. 29.

The Owls lost five of their first six games this season before bouncing back to win five of their last six to become bowl eligible.

``We haven't had anybody on our team go to a bowl game,'' Klein said. ``So it's new to all of us, but it's also really, really exciting.''

Corey received a redshirt after injuring his knee in the first game this season. But he's looking forward to taking part in the bowl experience with his team.

``I'm definitely proud and glad that I'm getting to enjoy the ride with them,'' Corey said. ``I'll be on the sideline cheering them on when they play Air Force.''

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When will the NFL kick off play? NFLPA head DeMaurice Smith not ready to predict

When will the NFL kick off play? NFLPA head DeMaurice Smith not ready to predict

A world without sports was impossible to imagine just a few weeks ago.   

Even under the worst circumstances, sports brings us together, provides hope during times of adversity, heals the broken and offers a glimpse of better times to come. That isn’t available now to help us distance ourselves from the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.  

The NBA, NHL, and MLS seasons are suspended. MLB’s season is delayed. College spring sports are cancelled. This is the new reality of social distancing and quarantine.  

In these trying times, the NFL has provided some sense of normalcy because its offseason could go on despite some necessary adjustments. Free agency went off without a hitch and the NFL Draft is expected to do the same later this month. But what happens after that? Will the season begin on time? 

NFL Players Association Executive Director DeMaurice Smith is taking the cautious approach.  

“I think it’s hard, if not impossible, to make concrete projections on what things might look like three, four, five, six months from now,” Smith said.  

Where we are today could not have been predicted months ago, leaving uncertainty in its wake. Yes, sports fans are desperate for football. But this scenario is just bigger than the business of the game. So, we pause. 

“The country is in desperate need of good leadership right now to make sure that we halt the spread of the virus, that we try to make sure that we are doing everything to make the peak of this outbreak happen as quickly as possible,” Smith said.  

Teams are not allowed to meet with players currently. And while the league has yet to cancel off-season training activities, Covid-19 is disrupting day-to-day business. Virtual contact is expected soon, but when players and coaches meet for the first time in person may not come until training camp in July.  Even that is in question. The 2020 Summer Olympics were scheduled for the same time in Tokyo and they were postponed weeks ago.  

While we don’t know when football will return, we do know it will.  But will it be different?  It’s been suggested games could be played without fans. Smith says contingency plans are coming together, but games without fans seems unlikely.  If the virus hasn’t been contained, don’t expect players to come out first and play alone.  

“I certainly am a fan, like everybody else out there,” Smith said. “Whether it was being a fan of basketball, baseball, or being a fan of hockey – all of that got cancelled because it was in the public’s best interest.” 


A team could test all of its players and be in the clear, but what about when they go home to their families?  Or resume normal activities outside of football?  It’s too much of a risk.    

“Football certainly has a strong and meaningful place in American culture, whether it’s played in high school, college, or played on the professional level,” Smith said. “But first and foremost, we have to make decisions that are in best interest of the public and best interest of the players.” 

The NFL and the NFLPA have gathered the best doctors they can to monitor the safety of their players and organization staffs.  The biggest determining factor on when football, and all sports, return is what you do at home to help slow the spread.  

Do your part, stay home and don’t expect football to return before it returns with you, the fan, who hopefully will be cheering from the stands, from your homes. Soon enough it will be safe to return. And when that happens, the players will be ready, too.  

“I know that there is going to be a group of people that are going to love to play football on the field,” Smith said.  

Stay connected to the Capitals and Wizards with the MyTeams app. Click here to download for comprehensive coverage of your teams.


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John Carlson is enjoying family time but gets glimpse of what his wife 'had to deal with' at home

John Carlson is enjoying family time but gets glimpse of what his wife 'had to deal with' at home

This time of year is typically one of the busiest times for a hockey player, especially for a team like the Washington Capitals. Had the season not been put on pause by the coronavirus, this would have been the first week of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. That means a lot of travel, a lot of practice, a lot of games and not much time for family.

While stuck at home, John Carlson is taking full advantage of the extra time to just be a dad.

“Yeah, it’s interesting and great," Carlson said on a video conference Wednesday. "I think just being able to see what my wife’s had to deal with for the last couple months is pretty sobering, I would say. But, yeah, it’s fun to get to do a lot of things. Although we are quarantined to the house, it is fun to see them more. Hearing my name screamed around the house a lot more is fun."

Carlson and his wife are the parents of two boys: Lucca, who will turn 5 in June, and Rudy, who will turn 2 in May.

More family time is great, but it also comes with challenges. Those are difficult ages for kids to be stuck inside. Carlson noted he had to do his workout early in the morning or his kids would make it difficult.


Findings ways to keep them occupied is a frequent struggle as well which is bad news for their Easter baskets.

"We've been doing our best trying to come up with as many activities as we can," Carlson said. "I think we're almost down to none of our Easter stuff that we got the kids just from pulling things out and trying to find some ways. It's been great to spend a lot of time with them, but it's a change."

As every parent knows, the days are long, but the years are also short. As exhausting and trying as it may be to try to parent with everyone stuck at home, Carlson knows this is time with his kids he would not have otherwise gotten.

While no one is happy about the coronavirus or how it has disrupted all of our lives, more time with the family is a blessing and is something Carlson is very thankful for.

"I think when we look back," Carlson said, "and hopefully this thing turns around and everything is going to be able to finish out like it was, it will definitely be a moment that I’ll remember, that I got to spend that much more time with them and see them kind of grow and turn into real human beings. It’s pretty special."

Stay connected to the Capitals and Wizards with the MyTeams app. Click here to download for comprehensive coverage of your teams.