Nationals

Thursday's Sports in Brief

Thursday's Sports in Brief

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) The ``conspiracy of silence'' that protected Jerry Sandusky extended all the way to the top at Penn State, prosecutors said Thursday as they charged former university President Graham Spanier with hushing up child sexual abuse allegations against the former assistant football coach.

Prosecutors also added counts against two of Spanier's former subordinates, Tim Curley and Gary Schultz, who already were charged with lying to a grand jury.

``This was not a mistake by these men. This was not an oversight. It was not misjudgment on their part,'' state Attorney General Linda Kelly said. ``This was a conspiracy of silence by top officials to actively conceal the truth.''

Spanier's lawyers issued a statement that asserted his innocence and described the new charges as an attempt by Gov. Tom Corbett to divert attention from the three-year investigation that began under his watch as attorney general.

RUNNING

NEW YORK (AP) - The blue and orange finish line is in place in Central Park, no superstorm debris in sight.

Little else is normal with the New York City Marathon.

Though, the course will be the same since there was little damage, getting to the finish line could still be an adventure for runners from outlying areas.

Such is life in Sandy's aftermath - disrupted trains, planes, buses and ferries, flooded buildings, blocked roads and knocked out power.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg saw none of this as insurmountable and defended the decision to hold the race, insisting resources wouldn't be diverted from storm victims. He noted Thursday that electricity was expected to be restored to all of Manhattan by race day, freeing up ``up an enormous number of police.''

``This city is a city where we have to go on,'' he said.

City Council member Domenic Recchia Jr., however, called plans to hold the race ``just wrong'' in light of the ongoing misery among residents with no food, shelter or electricity.

PRO FOOTBALL

NEW YORK (AP) - The NFL and the players' union are combining to donate $1 million to the American Red Cross to help in the recovery efforts in the Northeast after Hurricane Sandy.

The league and its network broadcasters also will run TV pregame and in-game messages to promote donations during this weekend's games, beginning with Thursday night's game on NFL Network between Kansas City and San Diego.

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - Michael Vick remains the Philadelphia Eagles quarterback, for next week and beyond.

Coach Andy Reid said he never considered benching Vick, he just wanted to step back and evaluate the beleaguered veteran.

LONDON (AP) - The Olympic Stadium is in need of a tenant and London Mayor Boris Johnson thinks the NFL could be the right match.

Just a few days after the NFL's sixth regular-season game at Wembley Stadium, Johnson said he has spoken with the league about playing more games in the British capital.

All six NFL games in London so far have been at Wembley, including the New England Patriots' 45-7 win over the St. Louis Rams on Sunday.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL

SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) - Some BCS officials are almost as giddy about the prospect of Notre Dame playing in one of their bowls games as Fighting Irish fans are.

``I tend to think right now, there's a lot to be played, but I don't see how they could avoid being in a BCS game somewhere,'' Fiesta Bowl executive director Robert Shelton said. ``They have four games left. Anything can happen, but they're looking so strong. Even if they only win two of those, certainly if they win three or four, they will be in a BCS game.''

The fourth-ranked Fighting Irish (8-0) are third in the BCS standings heading into their game against Pittsburgh (4-4) on Saturday, where they are 16.5-point favorites. They likely will be favored against Boston College (2-6) and Wake Forest (4-4) before the season finale at Southern California (6-2).

Officials with the Fiesta, Rose, Orange and Sugar bowls all say they will consider the Irish under the right circumstances, primarily that they meet the minimum requirements of nine victories and being among the top 14 teams in the final BCS standings.

BASEBALL

SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic (AP) - Former major league pitcher Pascual Perez, who had a troubled 11-season career that included two suspensions for drug use, was killed at his home in the Dominican Republic in an apparent robbery, police said.

Perez, who last played in the majors for the New York Yankees in 1991, was found with a severe head wound in a town west of the capital, Santo Domingo, and there was evidence at the scene to suggest that whoever killed him had been searching for money, said Joel Valdemiro, a prosecutor who is involved in the investigation.

No one was in custody and authorities did not reveal whether they had any suspects. Police said there were several assailants and that the house in the town of San Gregrorio de Nigua appeared to have been ransacked.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) - Rhode Island's economic development agency sued former Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling and some of its former officials, saying they committed fraud and other acts that misled the state into approving a $75 million loan guarantee to his failed video game company.

The suit was filed in Rhode Island Superior Court four months after 38 Studios filed for bankruptcy following a spectacular collapse that has likely left the state on the hook for as much as $100 million.

MILWAUKEE (AP) - The Milwaukee Brewers outrighted outfielder Nyjer Morgan to Triple-A Nashville.

Morgan hit .304 while helping Milwaukee win the NL Central in 2011, but slumped to .239 this year and the Brewers failed to make the playoffs. He is a .280 career hitter over six seasons with Pittsburgh, Washington and Milwaukee.

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - The World Series champion San Francisco Giants are parting ways with Aubrey Huff, declining to exercise his $10 million club option after two disappointing seasons following a big year during the team's title run two years ago.

OLYMPICS

LONDON (AP) - The IOC opened an investigation into Lance Armstrong's role in a doping scandal that has already wiped out his seven Tour de France titles and could cost him his Olympic bronze medal.

The IOC will also examine the Olympic involvement of other riders and officials implicated in a U.S. Anti-Doping Agency report that detailed ``the most sophisticated, professionalized and successful doping program that sport has ever seen.''

PRO BASKETBALL

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) - Bobcats owner Michael Jordan says he's ``in it for the long haul'' when it comes to seeing his struggling franchise transformed into a consistent winner.

He knows it won't be a quick, easy process after Charlotte ``hit rock bottom'' last season. But the always-competitive Jordan says the franchise needs to start turning things around.

He said Thursday that the Bobcats are not a playoff team now, ``but we need to get the ball rolling in the right direction.''

NEW YORK (AP) - The game between the New York Knicks and Brooklyn Nets that was postponed by SuperStorm Sandy will be played on Monday, Nov. 26.

GOLF

SHENZHEN, China (AP) - Louis Oosthuizen and Adam Scott shot 7-under 65s to lead the HSBC Champions after the first round Thursday.

Oosthuizen, the 2010 British Open winner, played a bogey-free round with seven birdies, while Scott finished his round with two birdies and an eagle on the par-5 ninth hole.

Two-time HSBC Champions winner Phil Mickelson was in a tie for third one shot back, along with Bubba Watson, Peter Hanson and Shane Lowry.

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (AP) - Defending champion Jay Don Blake birdied three of the final four holes for a 6-under 64 and the first-round lead in the Champions Tour's season-ending Charles Schwab Cup Championship.

AUTO RACING

Interim IndyCar CEO Jeff Belskus insisted it is business as usual for the series after a week of upheaval that included sharp criticism over the abrupt and awkward end of a three-year run by CEO Randy Bernard.

Belskus, who is also the Indianapolis Motor Speedway chief executive, ran IndyCar after Tony George's resignation in 2009 until Bernard took over in early 2010. He said again that the Hulman-George family, which owns both the speedway and IndyCar, is not considering selling the money-draining open-wheel series.

TENNIS

PARIS (AP) - Andy Murray wasted a match point against a qualifier ranked 69th and quickly lost his composure.

Jerzy Janowicz of Poland rallied to stun the U.S Open and Olympic champion 5-7, 7-6 (4), 6-2 Thursday in the third round of the Paris Masters.

SOFIA, Bulgaria (AP) - Already qualified for the semifinals, top-seeded Caroline Wozniacki beat Slovakia's Daniela Hantuchova 3-6, 7-6 (4), 6-4 to make it three wins from three at the season-ending Tournament of Champions.

SOCCER

NEW YORK (AP) - Landon Donovan isn't sure he wants to play at the 2014 World Cup, a stance that prompted U.S. coach Jurgen Klinsmann to say he intends to speak with the longtime American star.

The 30-year-old Los Angeles Galaxy midfielder, a veteran of three World Cups, has been sidelined by a string of injuries this year and has appeared in just eight of 20 national team games since Klinsmann became coach.

BOXING

LOS ANGELES (AP) - Evander Holyfield filed a lawsuit to try to stop the upcoming auction of some of his boxing memorabilia, including an Olympic bronze medal and the gloves he wore to fight Mike Tyson.

Holyfield's lawsuit was filed in Los Angeles and seeks an order blocking the sale of 20 of the almost 450 items set for auction Nov. 30 by Julien's Auctions.

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Stephen Strasburg makes history at the plate against Atlanta

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USA Today

Stephen Strasburg makes history at the plate against Atlanta

Stephen Strasburg had the best hitting performance of his career against the Braves Thursday night, going 3-3 at the plate with two singles and a 420-foot three-run bomb. 

He didn't just set personal records but reached rare air in baseball history. He's the second pitcher ever with at least three hits, a HR, and five RBI since the DH debuted in 1973 and the fifth pitcher in the last 50 seasons to get two hits in an inning including a home run. 

Strasburg set franchise firsts with his performance, dating all the way back to the Expos. 

An extraordinary milestone for the Nationals' ace, hopefully Strasburg's performance will inspire the team during a crucial four-game series with Atlanta. 

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‘The Redskins love Alabama guys’: Washington could run old draft playbook in 2020 to fill huge need

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‘The Redskins love Alabama guys’: Washington could run old draft playbook in 2020 to fill huge need

Perhaps no position group on the Redskins has more questions or uncertainty than the wide receivers.

Josh Doctson enters the final year of his rookie contract, and has yet to record over 550 yards in any of his three professional seasons. Washington signed Paul Richardson to a five-year deal in 2018, but he just played in just seven games for the Burgundy and Gold in 2018 before having season-ending shoulder surgery. Second-year receiver Trey Quinn is expected to fill the role in the slot after Jamison Crowder departed for the New York Jets this offseason but has yet to prove anything on the NFL level. 

The Redskins addressed the position during the 2019 NFL Draft, selecting Terry McLaurin in the third round and Kelvin Harmon in the sixth round. But it's unclear how much either one will contribute to the Washington offense in 2019.

So, it's likely the Redskins will need to address the position during the 2020 NFL Draft, and probably very early on it. Well, this works in Washington's favor, because the 2020 wide receiver class is loaded. 

On a recent episode of the Redskins Talk podcast, J.P. Finlay and Pete Hailey spoke with NFL Draft expert Jordan Reid (no, not the Redskins' tight end) about the top wide receiver prospects heading into next year's draft, and which players the Redskins could potentially target.

Before diving into the top 2020 prospects, Reid gave an initial assessment of the current Redskins' receivers.

"The Redskins just don't have that headliner, top go-to guy," Reid said. "They were expecting Josh Doctson to be that when they did draft him in the first round of 2016. But he's had some injuries, and he's already come out and said he's looking forward to free agency. That just not something you want to hear."

Reid was high on McLaurin, though, the first receiver the Redskins selected in 2019.

"They drafted Terry McLaurin in the third round, I liked him a lot even going back to the Senior Bowl," he said. "I think he's going to have a really good year, not just as a receiver but the special teams phase as well. He's going to flash in a lot of ways."

As far as the 2020 draft wide receiver class, one school stands on top, and it's a school the Redskins are very familiar with: Alabama. The Redskins used their first-round picks in 2017 and 2018 on 'Bama guys and signed another Crimson Tide alumni this offseason in safety Landon Collins.

"We know the Redskins love Alabama guys, and there's a lot of [wide receivers] coming out this year," Reid said. "It's not just Jerry Jeudy, Henry Ruggs is another guy that's getting a lot of steam. They're going to have the chance to get the receiver they want. This is a very special wide receiver class."

Crimson Tide receiver Jerry Jeudy is the consensus top receiver in next year's class, but Reid believes his speedy teammate could challenge him for that spot by season's end.

"With Ruggs, I think he's a bit more as far as polished a route runner [than Jeudy]," he said. "I think his hands are a bit better, and I wouldn't be shocked if he runs below a 4.3 at the combine. He can absolutely fly."

If the pair of Alabama receivers currently hold the top two spots for best wide receiver prospect, there's another guy who's right on their heels: Oklahoma's Ceedee Lamb.

"He reminds me a lot of DeAndre Hopkins coming out," Reid said on Lamb. "He's not a thick guy, but he plays much stronger than what he indicates. Very reliable hands, and his body control is out of this world. He had a one-handed catch against UCLA, it didn't count, but it's truly amazing."

As a true sophomore, Lamb totaled 1,158 yards and 11 touchdowns in 2018. Sure, it may have helped to have Heisman Trophy winner Kyler Murray under center, but Lamb has proven he's an elite talent.

Two other prospects Reid is keeping an eye on are Colorado's Laviska Shenault Jr. and Texas' Collin Johnson.

"He's not as polished as some of these other guys, but he's more of a do-it-all type of receiver," Reid said on Shenault Jr. 

Where Shenault may be a do-it-all receiver, Johnson plays to his 6'6 size.

"He's a really good route runner," Reid said on Johnson. "It's just a matter of how consistently can he separate, and how fast he is. If he goes to the Senior Bowl, I think he can light it up."

While many of these guys seem like sure-fire guys, there's still a full season of football to be played before the draft. Players will rise, but just as many, if not more, will fall off.

"You just have to let this play out, that's what happens with the draft process," Reid said. "Guys fall off, and then you have guys that come out of nowhere. Quinton Williams from last year is a prime example. He was a 270-pound defensive end at this time last year; we had no idea who he was and he ends up being the No. 3 overall selection."

But if everything plays out close to how it's expected to, this wide receiver draft class will be one to remember. 

"This class is special man," Reid said. "I think it's going to rival 2014, with Odell Beckham Jr., Sammy Watkins, Mike Evans and all those guys, Jarvis Landry, Davante Adams too. It's going to be very similar to that. It's very special."

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