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Seattle's Richard Sherman wins suspension appeal

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Seattle's Richard Sherman wins suspension appeal

RENTON, Wash. (AP) Even when others were suggesting he drop his case and accept his punishment, Richard Sherman never strayed from his steadfast belief that his four-game suspension would be overturned.

As unlikely as it seemed, Sherman was right.

The Seattle Seahawks will now have one of the best young cornerbacks in the NFL available for the playoffs after Sherman won his appeal of a suspension for use of performance enhancing substances on Thursday.

Gone is the lingering question about a possible suspension that hung over Sherman and the Seahawks for more than a month.

``I know what the truth is and anybody else who knows anything knows what the truth is. The truth has been told today,'' Sherman said on Thursday. ``People can say what they want, there are always naysayers. I have great teammates and great coaches and great fans and that's all I care about.''

The decision that was made by former NFL executive Bob Wallace came early Thursday morning. Sherman was called by his lawyer and simply announced in the Seahawks locker room, ``I won.''

High-fives ensued. Sherman took to Twitter and let his 40,000-plus followers know of his result.

A team already rolling on the field with four straight wins and an offensive output unmatched in the last half-decade of the NFL got even more good news.

``There was obviously a good amount of stress because you just don't know,'' Sherman said. ``You know how strong your case is, how strong everything is, but it was just great to get it over with.''

NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said in an email the league is reviewing the decision, but was declining comment due to confidentiality provisions.

Sherman was steadfast since news broke of his pending suspension that he believed he would win on appeal. Sherman's appeal was based on errors in the chain of custody of his urine sample and that there were mistakes made by the tester.

His appeal took place late last week in St. Louis.

A copy of Wallace's decision was obtained by The Associated Press. In his explanation, Wallace writes that the collection process of Sherman's urine sample on Sept. 17, the day after Seattle beat Dallas in Week 2, was not ordinary.

According to the written decision, Sherman's sample cup began leaking, to which the tester grabbed another cup and transferred the sample. Documentation of the leaking cup was not originally on the submitted report following the test and only when asked by a supervisor in October did the tester acknowledge the sample being transferred from the original cup.

The tester later gave testimony that he'd never experienced a leaking cup before, yet didn't feel the situation rose to the level of needing to be included on his report.

Wallace wrote the omission of the leaking cup from the report was a ``big deal,'' and that, ``insuring a sample is collected properly is the cornerstone of the program and when an event occurs that does not happen routinely or that the collector has never experienced while collecting the sample it is incumbent upon that collector to note what happened.''

``Accordingly, Mr. Sherman's appeal is granted and the discipline is reversed,'' Wallace wrote.

Sherman said when he got word on Nov. 12 of the failed test he knew it had to do with the sample collected in September.

``It was a weird day, a weird testing procedure,'' Sherman said. ``A lot of things went wrong on that day and that's why the result came out the way it did because he made mistakes and he did things wrong.''

Seattle has played the last three weeks without fellow starting cornerback Brandon Browner, serving a four-game suspension for a banned substance violation.

Browner's suspension expires after Sunday's game against the Rams, so Seattle will have both of its starting cornerbacks for the postseason.

``It definitely feels good for him to take this journey and keep being on this team with us,'' Seattle safety Earl Thomas said. ``We're getting (Browner) back and the depth that we have and the young guys got a chance to prove who they are and it's all just coming together for us.''

According to STATS, Sherman is tied with Pittsburgh's Keenan Lewis for the NFL lead with 23 passes defensed. He is tied for second in interceptions with seven.

Sherman was a surprise omission from the Pro Bowl roster announced Wednesday. Despite his impressive numbers, Sherman was a first alternate at cornerback for the NFC, behind the Chicago duo of Tim Jennings and Charles Tillman, and Arizona's Patrick Peterson.

``I appreciate the league for allowing justice to be served and allowing me to continue to play,'' Sherman said.

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Watch a George Mason walk-on receive a full scholarship

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Watch a George Mason walk-on receive a full scholarship

There are not many videos better in this world than walk-on college athletes receiving a full-ride scholarship and their ensuing reaction. 

George Mason's men's basketball team gave everyone one of those emotional moments. Jack Tempchin, who's in his third year as a preferred walk-on for the Patriots, received the scholarship after Thursday's practice. 

His teammates reacted appropriately. 

On Twitter, the redshirt junior thanked his teammates, coaches and family who helped get him to this point. 

As a walk-on, Tempchin has only played in 16 games throughout his three years. Most of his minutes have been in garbage time of blowouts or to come in the game to pick-up a quick foul. Throughout those appearances, he's put up six points, four of them coming from the charity stripe. 

Gotta love when a player gets properly rewarded for their hard work and dedication. 

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Beal makes his case in win over Cavs

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Beal makes his case in win over Cavs

The Washington Wizards beat the Cleveland Cavaliers 124-112 on Thursday night. Here are five takeaways from what went down...

1. Just before tip-off, the NBA announced it's 2019-20 All-Star starters and not included in the Eastern Conference backcourt was Bradley Beal. Boston's Kemba Walker and Atlanta's Trae Young instead got the honors.

Whether Beal knew that fact when he took the floor or not, he put in a performance against the Cavs that should add to his case for being a reserve. The two-time All-Star followed up a 38-point gem against the Heat with 36 points against Cleveland just one night later. He also had eight assists and shot 15-for-22 (68.2%) from the field and 4-for-8 from three.

Beal now has the fourth-most 30-point games in the NBA since the start of last season with 40 of them. Only James Harden (86) Gianiis (54) and Damian Lillard (45) have more.

This 30-point game helped the Wizards bounce back from a loss the night before in Miami. Washington is now 15-29 on the season and 5-5 in their last 10 games.

2. In his previous six games since returning from a quad injury, Davis Bertans had put up some solid numbers and shown flashes. Against the Cavs, though, he did what we saw him to much more often a few months ago when he was healthy.

Bertans not only lit a spark off the bench, but he did so in microwave fashion. He had 14 of his 17 points in the first half, including three consecutive threes in the second quarter to force a timeout as the Wizards' lead grew to 14. That marked a big turnaround after Washington trailed by as many as 12 in the first quarter.

Bertans helped lead a monster effort from the Wizards' bench as a whole. They outscored the Cavs' second unit, 59-34. The Wizards are second in the NBA in bench scoring and that is despite all of the injuries they have dealt with in recent months. Now that they are nearly whole, the bench is becoming even stronger.

 

3. The Thomas Bryant situation is getting more interesting as each game passes. He has now been back six games and has been kept between roughly between 12 and 21 minutes a night. He played 17 minutes against the Cavs and contributed nine points and three rebounds.

Bryant is a big man coming off a foot injury, so the Wizards have incentive to play it safe and maintain a minutes restriction. But it has now been nearly two weeks since he came back.

Is it as simple as a minutes limit or is Ian Mahinmi's improved play having a domino effect on Bryant? The more Bryant plays limited minutes, the more that could become evident, if this is indeed performance based. 

Mahinmi, by the way, had seven points, seven rebounds and played strong defense, helping the Wizards to hold Tristan Thompson to six points and three rebounds.

4. Much like last week when the Wizards saw the Pistons and Andre Drummond, watching this game was reminder that Kevin Love is reportedly available in trades. That begs the natural question of where he would fit, if he gets dealt soon, like before the Feb. 6 deadline.

Some might argue the Wizards as an option, given their best players are guards and Love would technically complement them well. Given his age and contract, however, it would probably be too much of a risk for the Wizards.

The Blazers seem like they could use him and the Raptors could also be interesting. He would also fit well with the Rockets, though they probably don't have enough trade assets to get him.

What about the Timberwolves? They have disappointed this year and need to find Karl-Anthony Towns some help. Love wouldn't be joining a contender, as he probably hopes to, but it could be an interesting story if he goes back to the team he started with. And him and Towns would be a tough duo to stop given how well they rebound and stretch the floor.

Speaking of Love, he had the viral moment of the night when he pretended to resuscitate Beal. 

5. Backup center Anzejs Pasecniks was back in the mix after missing two games due to a left ankle injury. And not only was he available, he actually got some burn.

Pasecniks played 15 minutes and scored four points to go along with three rebounds. So, even with Bryant and Bertans back from injury, and Johnathan Williams III still getting minutes, Pasecniks maintains a role in the rotation.

That could change once other players come back. Moe Wagner, in particular, will probably take minutes away from him at the backup center spot. But Pasecniks still hanging around in the rotation is a testament to him and the way he has played. No one predicted he would play this much of a factor this season.

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