Some of Dungy's fondest memories from college


Some of Dungy's fondest memories from college

GRAPEVINE, Texas (AP) Tony Dungy won Super Bowl titles as an NFL player and coach. Still, some of his fondest memories are his college days at Minnesota.

``There is nothing in my life that I've done that's been as much fun as my junior and senior years in college. All things considered, it was a special time,'' Dungy said Friday.

``I can't even fathom not having my senior year and that experience and just finishing up with the guys that I came in with.''

At the NCAA convention, Dungy received the organization's highest award. The Roosevelt Award is presented each year to a person who used their college athletic experience to produce a distinguished career.

After playing quarterback for the Golden Gophers from 1973-76, Dungy won the Super Bowl as a cornerback for the Pittsburgh Steelers and later as coach of the Indianapolis Colts.

The current NFL analyst for NBC broadcasts also works through his Dungy Family Foundation to help improve communities, and has written several books.

In an age when many top-notch college players leave early for the NFL draft, some go to Dungy for advice when trying to decide what to do. What he tells them is similar to what he was told by Olympic basketball player Jim Brewer after first arriving on the Minnesota campus.

``He told me something that I never forgot. He said you're going to have a great four years here, don't cheat yourself out of anything. Take advantage of everything. If you don't come away from this with a degree you will have cheated yourself,'' Dungy said.

``I tried to take that advice and take in everything, and from the classroom to the athletics to meeting people, building relationships. When I look back at it, it was the best four years you could have.''

Of course, Dungy signed with the Steelers out of college for $20,000 and ``felt I was happy. That was great.''

Now there are millions of dollars at stake.

Dungy said big dollars provide a different part of the equation and he does talk to players about the business part that is certainly a factor. He does recognize there are some risk factors, especially the possibility of injuries in football.

``But here's what I tell most of them. If you go to the NFL, you'll enjoy it and you'll make money and you'll a great career. But if you go, you may regret not playing your senior year in college,'' he said. ``If it's meant to be, you'll go and you'll have a great time in the NFL, but you will never regret coming back. You may regret going.''

Along with Dungy's award during the NCAA honors celebration, former Hampden-Sydney College running back Kirk Rohle received the NCAA's Award of Valor.

Rohle and his longtime best friend, Ben Rogers, were teammates from youth football through high school and then at the Division III college in Virginia.

In the early morning hours of Jan. 25, 2012, a house they shared with seven other guys caught fire. Once outside in nothing but boxer shorts, Rohle realized that Rogers was not there, and ran back inside to find his friend.

Following the shouts of his friend, Rogers made his way out of the house though they didn't see each other in the flames and smoke.

Rohle suffered burns over nearly half of his body before getting back out, and it wasn't until he woke up in a hospital four days later that he knew Rogers was OK. Rohle was hospitalized for about six weeks before returning to campus and graduating last summer.

``No one really wants to get awarded something that you wish something that had never happened,'' Rohle said. ``It's kind of like getting the comeback player of the year award where you have to get injured first and go through all the struggles and everything to get back. I guess what I've really learned is this award isn't really just for me.''

Rohle, whose scars are mostly covered when he's dressed, said he considers himself a representative for people who have done what he did without any recognition. He has repeatedly told the story, and he and Rogers are soon moving into a new house together.

``Every time I say it, it actually means more,'' Rohle said. ``I'm realizing now that things happen in life and you're going to have challenges. ... I'm hoping this is going to inspire other people when I say it. It doesn't really affect me mentally at all, I don't go back and have flashes or anything like that.''

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NHL Playoffs 2019 Roundup: Hurricanes tie series with Caps, Blues take series lead, Sharks avoid elimination

NHL Playoffs 2019 Roundup: Hurricanes tie series with Caps, Blues take series lead, Sharks avoid elimination

As the first-round starts to head into the final games, each matchup is getting more and more critical, as was evident Thursday. Not only did the Carolina Hurricanes have the chance to even up the series with the Washington Capitals in Game 4, but the St. Louis Blues and Winnipeg Jets were playing for the 3-2 series lead and the San Jose Sharks found themselves in a must-win situation in order to avoid elimination against the Vegas Golden Knights.

Thursday's slate of games proved to be crucial and ultimately, played out well for the Hurricanes, Blues and Sharks. Here's how each series stacked up Thursday.

Hurricanes tie series against Caps with narrow 2-1 win

It was a close matchup between Washington and Carolina Thursday, but thanks to a couple of key goals and a big night for Petr Mrazek between the pipes, the Hurricanes were able to take Game 4 with a 2-1 victory.

Warren Foegele opened the scoring for Carolina just 17 seconds in, crashing the net and scoring on a lay-up that beat Braden Holtby. It was his third goal of the playoffs and the fastest playoff goal for Carolina in franchise history.

Alex Ovechkin was able to even the score in the second period with a one-timer on the man advantage, putting an end to 11 straight penalty kills for the Canes. The goal was Ovechkin's second of the playoffs, with both tallies coming on the power play. However, just before the second period came to a close, Teuvo Teravainen returned the lead for Carolina to make it 2-1.

Petr Mrazek made 30 saves on the night, including eight in the third period to guarantee the victory for the Hurricanes, while Holtby made 22 saves on 24 shots. Washington also lost T.J. Oshie to injury late in the game after he was hit from behind by Warren Foegele. The series is now tied 2-2.

Blues edge Jets with comeback victory, take series lead

Although the Jets were up 2-0 over the Blues heading into the third period, Winnipeg surrendered three unanswered goals as St. Louis took a 3-2 victory.

Adam Lowry scored just 12 seconds into the opening frame for the Jets' fastest playoff goal in franchise history to make it 1-0, and Kevin Hayes added a goal a little over halfway through the first to make it 2-0.

The lead would carry over until the final 20 minutes of regulation, where the Blues kicked it into full gear. Ryan O'Reilly beat Connor Hellebuyck on the power play a little over a minute into the third to pull the Blues within one. With about seven minutes to go, Brayden Schenn would tie the game at 2 with his first goal of the playoffs.

With the final minute winding down, it appeared that the game would be headed to overtime; however, Tyler Bozak was able to knock the puck loose and find a wide-open Jaden Schwartz in front, who fired the puck past Hellebuyck with just 15 seconds remaining to make it 3-2.

With the victory, the Blues now hold a 3-2 series lead and can eliminate Winnipeg in Game 6 Saturday.

Sharks stay alive with statement 5-2 win over Golden Knights

Thursday's game was a must-win for the Sharks, and thanks mainly to the effort of Tomas Hertl, they were able to dominate on home ice with an impressive win over Vegas.

A little over a minute in, Tomas Hertl jumped on a pass from Erik Karlsson and scored his third of the playoffs to make it 1-0 early. Later in the period, Logan Couture would beat Marc-Andre Fleury to put the Sharks up by two, but with 30 seconds to go in the opening frame, Reilly Smith was able to pull Vegas within one with his first of the postseason.

While it looked like Vegas would be able to shift the momentum with their end to the first, Barclay Goodrow redirected a Justin Braun shot past Fleury and the Sharks regained their two-goal lead.

Jonathan Marchessault would strike for the Golden Knights on the power play over halfway into the third to cut the lead to one, but Hertl soon after scored his second of the night on the rebound of a Joe Pavelski shot to make it 4-2. With less than two minutes to go in regulation, Pavelski scored on the empty net for his second point of the game, which ultimately sealed the deal for the Sharks.

Martin Jones, who had been struggling but was given the start regardless, proved his worth with 30 saves on 32 shots, and Erik Karlsson also put up a multi-point performance for San Jose in the win.


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Why Daron Payne switched to No. 94 as soon as it was available

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Why Daron Payne switched to No. 94 as soon as it was available

Redskins' defensive lineman Daron Payne will be sporting a new number in his second season, reverting back to No. 94 after playing his rookie season in the Burgundy and Gold at No. 95.

Payne, who had preferred No. 94 through his days in high school as well as while down in Tuscaloosa as a member of the Alabama Crimson Tide, didn't have the option to choose it after being selected 13th by the Redskins in the 1st Round of the 2018 NFL Draft, as the number was already claimed by then-Redskin Preston Smith, who had chosen it three years earlier.

With Smith off to Green Bay, Payne pounced on the opportunity to shift back to the jersey number that he'd gone with for so long before coming to the nation's capital. 

Payne performed admirably in his inaugural season with Washington, recording 35 solo tackles, five sacks, and one forced fumble, while suiting up in all 16 games and receiving praise for his outstanding play from the Pro Football Writers Association as one of the premier up-and-coming interior linemen in the NFL.