Redskins

Man gets prison term for extorting QB Griffin

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Man gets prison term for extorting QB Griffin

WACO, Texas (AP) A former Baylor basketball player was sentenced to 18 months in federal prison Wednesday for trying to get $1 million from Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III through extortion.

U.S. District Judge Walter Smith also ordered Richard Hurd, 26, to pay a $1,000 fine for threatening to release damaging information about Griffin last June.

``I messed up, and I'd like to apologize to my family,'' Hurd said during a brief hearing. ``I've embarrassed myself and them as well.''

Hurd could have been sentenced to as many as three years behind bars after pleading guilty in September to two charges relating to the scam - threatening to injure the reputation of another person and receiving the proceeds of extortion.

Griffin won the Heisman Trophy at Baylor last year, and he signed a contract worth more than $21 million after the Redskins made him the second player selected in the 2012 draft. The Redskins play at Dallas on Thursday, the rookie's first pro appearance in his home state.

During a conference call with reporters Tuesday, Griffin referred to Hurd as his fiancee's ex-boyfriend, noting that anyone who gains fame and money can be vulnerable.

``People do things like that when they're angry at you or for whatever reason,'' Griffin said. ``For me, it's extremely unfortunate, and you've just got to move on from it. It's not anything I'm afraid of. It's just sad.''

According to federal authorities, Hurd contacted Griffin's agent and said he wanted $1 million. Otherwise, he would provide the media with information that would damage the former Baylor star's reputation.

The agent then contacted the FBI, and, under its direction, went through with negotiations that led to Hurd agreeing to accept a far lesser amount - $120,000 - in exchange for signing a non-disclosure agreement. Hurd later was arrested by FBI agents after signing the non-disclosure document and collecting a check for the agreed-upon amount at a Waco law office.

Many of the court documents in the case have been sealed, and it's unclear what information Hurd wanted to reveal.

During the hearing, Hurd's attorney, Russ Hunt, told Smith that his client had done ``something really stupid'' but didn't provide details. Hunt also declined to discuss the specifics of the plot after the court appearance.

Walking away from the court house, Hurd refused to talk about the case.

``The only thing I have to say is `Happy Thanksgiving' and `Sic `em, Bears,''' he said. ``Any other cliche I can throw out there?''

Hurd played at Baylor as a walk-on from 2005 through 2008 after a high school career at Heritage Christian Academy in Cleveland, north of Houston. A member of the Baylor basketball coaching staff, Jerome Tang, was Hurd's coach at Heritage Christian and became the player's legal guardian.

Hurd's brother, Lamar Hurd, also played at Heritage Christian and later starred at Oregon State.

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AP Sports Writer Schuyler Dixon in Dallas contributed to this report.

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Jay Gruden shown no love in preseason coaches ranking

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USA Today Sports

Jay Gruden shown no love in preseason coaches ranking

Yahoo! Sports ranked all 32 head coaches in the NFL and Washington Redskins fans may not be too happy with where Jay Gruden ended up.

Entering his fifth year as head coach, Gruden was ranked as the No. 27 head coach in the NFL. Here's Yahoo!'s rationale behind his ranking:

"Four years, one playoff berth, one plus-.500 season, one franchise quarterback run out of town."

All that is ... not false, but the whole franchise quarterback being run out of town thing is at least debatable. And even if the ranking is fair, it's still okay to be upset because it's the middle of July, training camp hasn't started yet and the offseason is the perfect time to get irrationally angry about things like these.

Elsewhere in the NFC, Giants head coach Pat Shurmur checks in at No. 23, Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett is No. 17 and the Eagles' Doug Pederson is No. 2.

Unsurprisingly, Bill Belichick was ranked No. 1; he may be the greatest of all time when all is said and done, if not already. The top five rounds out with Pederson at No. 2, New Orleans's Sean Payton at No. 3, Minnesota's Mike Zimmer at No. 4 and Pittsburgh's Mike Tomlin at No. 5.

MORE REDSKINS NEWS:

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Stroman pitches 7 sharp innings as Blue Jays beat Orioles 4-1

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USA Today Sports

Stroman pitches 7 sharp innings as Blue Jays beat Orioles 4-1

TORONTO (AP) -- Blue Jays right-hander Marcus Stroman gave up hits to the first three Baltimore batters Saturday.

The Orioles got just two more hits the rest of the afternoon.

Stroman pitched seven sharp innings for his second win in three starts and Toronto beat Baltimore 4-1 for its sixth straight victory over the struggling Orioles.

"He started working both sides of the plate with his sinker and I think that threw them off a little bit, especially late in counts," Blue Jays catcher Luke Maile said. "Overall it was just kind of vintage Stroman."

Baltimore right-hander Alex Cobb picked up his major league-worst 13th loss. The Orioles dropped to 1-8 against Toronto this season.

"I absolutely hate seeing that win-loss in parentheses next to my name," Cobb said. "It's sickening."

Stroman (3-7) allowed one run and five hits. He threw a season-high 107 pitches, the first time this season he has topped 100.

Stroman is 3-2 with a 3.03 ERA in five starts since returning from a shoulder injury that caused him to miss more than a month. He went 0-5 in seven starts before the injury.

"Since he's come back from the DL he's been really good," manager John Gibbons said. "I just think he's pitching like he's always pitched."

Stroman said he's focused on forgetting his early season struggles.

"I know I didn't have the first half I wanted but I've always been someone who prides myself on the second half and finishing strong," Stroman said. "That's something I'll look to continue to do this year."

Friend and teammate Devon Travis likes what he's seen from Stroman since the right-hander returned from injury.

"He's got that fire back," Travis said. "He's really under control. I think he's locking in on every single pitch."

Seunghwan Oh worked the eighth and Ryan Tepera finished for his seventh save in 12 opportunities.

Baltimore scored one run or fewer for the 27th time, the most in the majors.

The first three Orioles batters all singled, although Jonathan Schoop was thrown out trying to stretch his hit into a double. After Adam Jones gave Baltimore a 1-0 lead with an RBI hit to right, Mark Trumbo grounded into an inning-ending double play.

The Blue Jays answered with a three-run fourth against Cobb, taking advantage of a key Orioles error.

Justin Smoak opened the inning with a walk and, following a video review, was ruled safe at second after Cobb's high throw pulled shortstop Tim Beckham off the base on at attempted force play.

"That's not it in a nutshell but I can understand why that's the focus, a play we haven't been making," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said.

Randal Grichuk followed with an RBI double, a second run scored on Diaz's double play grounder, and Maile capped the rally with an RBI single.

Diaz had four hits Friday, including the game-winning single in the 10th. He went 2 for 3 Saturday with a pair of singles.

The Blue Jays made it 4-1 in the fifth when Teoscar Hernandez doubled, advanced on a fly ball and scored on Cobb's balk.

Cobb (2-13) lost his sixth straight decision, allowing four runs, one earned, and four hits in five innings. Showalter said Cobb was removed to avoid worsening a blister on his pitching hand.

"I was only going to have a few more pitches going into the sixth so he felt like the risk-reward was not really worth it," Cobb said.

Grichuk made the defensive play of the game, a running catch on the warning track in left center to retire Trumbo for the first out of the ninth.

GOING DOWN?

Jones and Chris Davis got stuck in an elevator at the team's downtown hotel following Friday night's defeat. Jones documented much of the saga on Instagram. The players and fellow passengers were eventually rescued by Toronto Fire Services staff. The sound system at Rogers Centre played a few bars of Aerosmith's `Love in an Elevator' before Jones batted in the fourth inning Saturday.

NO HOMERS

Toronto won without hitting a home run for just the third time in 26 games this season.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Orioles: Baltimore is expected to demote a reliever when RHP Andrew Cashner (neck) is activated off the 10-day disabled list Sunday.

UP NEXT

Cashner (2-9, 4.56) last pitched July 10, when he allowed five runs and five hits in 6 1-3 innings against the Yankees. Blue Jays LHP J.A. Happ (10-6, 4.29) is 0-3 with a 9.75 ERA in three July starts.