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Rookie WR Rod Streater impresses for Raiders

Rookie WR Rod Streater impresses for Raiders

ALAMEDA, Calif. (AP) Rod Streater spent last December preparing with Temple for the New Mexico Bowl, what he believed would be the final football game of his career.

With only 19 catches as a senior, Streater understandably drew little notice from NFL scouts and was resigned to pursuing a career with his degree in communications and public relations.

Just a year later, Streater is proving he belongs in the NFL as he has become a trusted target for Oakland quarterback Carson Palmer and a key part of the Raiders' future.

``It's a crazy feeling,'' he said. ``I thought football was over for me. I was just looking at getting a job. Then you come here and the game's on your hands. It's a lot of pressure and then it's not. It's what you prepare for. It's what you want to do as a kid growing up. It's a good feeling.''

Streater is tied for sixth among all rookie wide receivers with 28 catches and has 429 yards receiving and three touchdowns. After hitting the proverbial rookie wall near Thanksgiving when he fell behind fellow rookie Juron Criner on the depth chart, Streater has gotten a second wind and put together his two most productive games the past two weeks.

``That's part of being a rookie,'' coach Dennis Allen said. ``It's a little bit of a roller-coaster ride, and you have some ups and downs. Criner was getting a little bit more playing time and he (Streater) was getting a little bit less playing time, and then he got the opportunity and made a few plays. That's what it's all about. When you make plays you play a lot more.''

Streater bounced back from a zero-catch performance in Cincinnati on Nov. 25 to catch three balls for 96 yards and a touchdown against Cleveland the following week. Then on national television last Thursday night against Denver, Streater had four catches for a career-high 100 yards.

``I feel like I'm improving each week,'' he said. ``No matter what it is I always want to get better. Next week I'll try to go better than 100. I just try to get better.''

Streater acknowledged that succeeding in the NFL takes much more work than he was used to putting in during college. He credits his improved play on the field to more work off it that has helped him better recognize coverages.

Streater said he is making fewer mistakes during games and is adjusting well to the faster pace in the NFL.

``Rod is doing great,'' Palmer said. ``I love what he brings to the team. He's a rookie but you'd never know it. He's athletically gifted, he's fast, he catches the ball really well, and does not think the game like a rookie. He thinks the game like a veteran. He's doing phenomenal.''

It's been quite an impressive performance from a player who was passed over by all 32 teams in the NFL draft.

Streater never got much of a chance to show what he could do in college. He played defensive back and receiver for two years in junior college at Alfred State before transferring to Temple.

The Owls weren't much of a throwing team and Streater had just 49 catches in two seasons there, including only 19 his senior season.

That was a big reason why he never expected to have a chance in the NFL. But he decided he would keep working out anyway after his final college season and impressed scouts at his pro day.

Despite not being drafted in April, Streater was targeted immediately by Oakland and signed as an undrafted free agent. He made a quick impression at a rookie minicamp and kept up the strong performance throughout OTAs, minicamp and training camp.

A strong exhibition season helped him make the roster and he has been a valuable contributor all season for Oakland.

``He's been making plays since he's been here,'' said Oakland receiver Jacoby Ford, who has been injured all season. ``He looked up to us. We told him, `You just got to go out there and make plays.' I told him yesterday, I said, `They're going to give you guys some opportunities to make plays and they're going to throw it up. Just take advantage of your opportunity.' And that's exactly what he does. He just makes plays week in, week out.''

NOTES: The Raiders were granted a one-day extension to sell enough tickets to avoid a local blackout. The team has been blacked out just once the past two years. ... S Tyvon Branch missed his third straight practice with injuries to his neck and ankle. ... DT Richard Seymour tweaked his hamstring that sidelined him the past five weeks. ... DT Christo Bilukidi returned after missing practice Wednesday with an illness. ... LB Rolando McClain had nothing to say about his recent suspension, saying ``coach covered everything.''

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Astros and Athletics clear benches, have a very non-socially distant brawl

Astros and Athletics clear benches, have a very non-socially distant brawl

Even amid the coronavirus pandemic, the normalities of a baseball season will continue on. That means players and managers getting heated, arguments with umpires and benches clearing. But because of the risk the virus poses, MLB has asked for those moments to remain socially distant.

The Houston Astros and Oakland Athletics did not follow that rule on Sunday.

After Athletics outfielder Ramon Laureano was hit by a pitch, he appeared to be exchanging words with a Houston bench coach. With no fans, the words can be heard loud and clear by everybody. That led to both benches clearing and not even six inches of separation between players. 

It's understandable for players to get angry and caught up in the moment, but this move by both teams is rather unacceptable given the current climate of the country and the sport. Though players are being tested constantly, this close contact between teams is unnecessary and only creates a larger risk for all involved.

The non-socially distant brawl comes at a bad time for baseball, as the league is dealing with numerous coronavirus-related issues. The St. Louis Cardinals have had at least 15 games postponed due to an outbreak within the organization, and that comes just after the Miami Marlins dealt with the same problem as well. Cleveland Indians pitcher Zach Plesac was reportedly sent home on Sunday after breaking protocol and going out with friends in Chicago on Saturday night.

Despite tightening up regulations for players, MLB still faces daily challenges while trying to operate a season during a global pandemic. Moments like the brawl between the Athletics and Astros don't help.

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Report: Big Ten, other Power 5 conferences leaning towards canceling 2020 season amid pandemic

Report: Big Ten, other Power 5 conferences leaning towards canceling 2020 season amid pandemic

The likelihood that college football is played this fall is looking bleaker by the day.

The commissioners of Power 5 conferences reportedly had an emergency conference call on Sunday evening to discuss the 2020 season, and the large majority of Big Ten presidents want to postpone the season due to concerns amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, according to ESPN's Adam Rittenberg.

Earlier this week, the Big Ten halted on moving forward with padded practices until more protocols are in place.

Moments later, reports surfaced that the Big Ten is leaning towards moving forward without a fall football season, and a formal decision could be made as soon as early this week, according to Sports Illustrated's Pat Forde and Ross Dellenger.

The cancelation or postponement of the 2020 college football season seems to be inevitable, multiple sources have told ESPN.

The news doesn't come as a surprise considering the current state of the pandemic in the United States. However, the Big Ten just announced a new, conference-only schedule earlier this week, so the timing is a bit odd.

The Mid-American Conference postponed football and all fall sports on Saturday. If the Big Ten becomes the first Power 5 conference to postpone football, and fall sports as a whole, it will be interesting to see how quickly (if at all) the other major conferences (SEC, ACC, Pac-12, Big 12) follow suit.

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