Archive for June, 2012

Ray Easterling’s widow pushing for change in NFL

Ray Easterling played eight seasons with the Falcons in the 1970s but post-career brain injuries led to his suicide, according to a lawsuit. (AP photo)

Ray Easterling played eight seasons with the Falcons in the 1970s, but brain trauma may have led to his suicide. (AP photo)

She tried to think back to life before her husband first started suffering from sleepless nights and depression, before the memory loss and the dementia, before the suicide.

“The first part of our marriage in Atlanta and Richmond, Ray was wonderful,” Mary Ann Easterling said Thursday. “He was the life of the party. There was always an excuse to get up in the morning. Then when the insomnia and the depression hit, it was like the light went off. The switch was flicked. He no longer enjoyed being around the family. He no longer enjoyed doing the things he always enjoyed.”

It has been seven weeks since former Falcons safety Ray Easterling, 62, was found dead in his Richmond home of a self-inflicted gunshot wound. The suicide came eight months after the first in a flurry of concussion-related lawsuits against the NFL, a list that has grown to 86 suits, …

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9 reasons to be concerned about Jerry Sandusky’s jury

Jerry Sandusky (left), with attorney Joe Amendola, may have caught a break with jury. (Centre Daily Times)

Will Jerry Sandusky, with attorney Joe Amendola, get help from jury? (Centre Daily Times)

It would have been difficult to go anywhere in the U.S. and find 12 jurors who knew nothing about former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky and the ugly child molestation allegations against him. But the potential problems of holding the trial in small-townish Centre County, Pa., were reaffirmed in the last two days.

The 16 jurors (including four alternates) have been selected from a pool of 220. Here’s the scary math: nine of the 16 have direct ties to Penn State and three have ties to key witnesses.

Prosecutors attempted to get a change of venue for the trial. They believed selecting jurors from a pool in a county with a population of just over 150,000 — by comparison, Fulton County is about 950,000 — could be problematic. As horrible a crime as child molestation is, anybody who had direct or indirect connections — or allegiances — with Penn State, Sandusky or defense …

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We give you odds on Braves’, Falcons’ or Hawks’ title parade

Forgot what a sports parade looks like? Here's Braves World Series hero Tom Glavine in 1995.

Forgot what Atlanta parade looked like? Here's 1995 Braves World Series MVP Tom Glavine.

It is that time of year when two leagues are close to determining new champions and every sports fan in Atlanta thinks, “There goes another parade.”

A potential NBA title in Oklahoma City? A possible Stanley Cup in Los Angeles (only slightly better than if Ilya Kovalchuk led New Jersey)? Are the sporting gods planning any more shots to the groin area? Is Mike Mularkey destined to lead Jacksonville to a Super Bowl? (On second thought, we’re probably safe.)

Not counting minor leagues or sports teams that would make you pause and think, “Wait, do they count?” Atlanta has celebrated only one pro championship since the Braves and Falcons theoretically lifted the city out of amateur status in 1966.

Depending on how generous you want to be with the math, Atlanta is 1-for-46 years, which equates to an annual parade percentage of .022, or 1-for-155 seasons (MLB, NFL, NBA, NHL), which is a …

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College playoff may be moving toward using committee

Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany slammed polls as a method of picking title game participants.

Big Ten's Jim Delany slammed polls, computers as methods for picking title game teams.

I’m sorry, but did the Big Ten — the Betamax of college football conferences — just enter the digital age? And become pals with the SEC in the process?

Big Ten officials fell in line with the SEC and the Big 12 Monday, declaring that the impending college football playoff should be comprised of the nations four best teams, regardless of their conference affiliation. Commissioner Jim Delany also endorsed the possibility of junking polls and computer rankings and forming a selection committee to pick those four teams — an idea that has been pushed in my disturbed little corner of the universe.

Quoting Delany from a Monday news conference with Nebraska chancellor Harvey Perlman and Indiana president Michael McRobbie: “Everybody recognizes the present poll system is not a good proxy. … It should be the four best teams.”

Did that really happen?

The Big Ten and Pacific 10/12 conferences have long …

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Jurrjens feels ‘not wanted’ by Braves, struggles don’t help

Jair Jurrjens still ddn't feel right when he reported to spring training. (AP photo)

Jair Jurrjens still didn't feel right when he reported to spring training. (Jason Getz/AJC)

When the Braves sent pitcher Kris Medlen to the minors a few days ago, significantly different conversations were going on in the clubhouses involved.

At Turner Field, the talk centered on how quickly Medlen could “stretch out” his arm and transition from reliever to starter, thereby rescuing the team’s rotation. At the minor league confines of Coolray Field in Gwinnett, the questions centered on whether this unofficially signaled the end of Jair Jurrjens’ career as a Brave.

“I understand it’s a business, and they need to do what they need to do,” said Jurrjens, less than a year removed from being an All-Star. “But you have feelings, and it hurts when you feel like you’re not wanted somewhere.”

And that’s what it feels like?

“If I say no, I’m lying. When you’re doing good, everybody loves you. When you’re doing bad, everybody hates you.

“You hear stuff. When the Medlen stuff happened, …

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