Of an apparent heart attack, at age 60, former Pro Bowl tight end Jim Mitchell (below). In 11 seasons with the Falcons, Mitchell caught 305 passes (which puts him fourth on the team's alltime list) and made the Pro Bowl following the 1969 and '72 seasons. He battled diabetes after he retired; he eventually lost his eyesight but still served as a volunteer coach at two high schools near his home in Shelbyville, Tenn. "He was the best blocking tight end, the best receiving tight end the Falcons have ever had," said former teammate Jeff Van Note, who is now a Falcons radio host.
Guilty to several charges stemming from a shooting that wounded five Duquesne basketball players last year, William Holmes, 19. Under the deal, Holmes was sentenced to 18 to 40 years in prison. He is the second man to plead guilty; Derek Lee, 19, was sentenced to seven to 14 years. The prosecutor said Holmes got a harsher sentence because the bullets that hit the players came from his gun. Officials said the wounded players—three of whom have resumed their playing careers—all signed off on Holmes's deal.
After 16 seasons in the NHL, winger Peter Bondra, a free agent who played for the Blackhawks last season. Bondra, 39, a two-time 50-goal scorer, scored 503 goals in 1,081 NHL games with the Capitals, Senators, Thrashers and Chicago, and scored the winning goal against Russia to give Slovakia the 2002 world championship. He will become the general manager of the Slovakian national team.
By NFL owners, to contribute $10 million to a fund for ailing former players. Earlier this year the league—along with the players' association, the Hall of Fame and the alumni association—pledged $7 million for retirees in the wake of numerous stories of disabled ex-players struggling to get by. Still, the additional funds (which are earmarked for joint replacement surgery, cardiovascular screenings and assisted living expenses) didn't satisfy all of the league's critics. Hall of Fame guard Joe DeLamielleure told the New York Daily News, "What's $10 million divided by 32 owners? That's nothing."
From the Georgia basketball team for an unspecified violation of team rules, Takais Brown (below). The senior forward, who averaged a team-best 14.2 points a game last year, had been suspended earlier this month for missing class. "He can continue as a student here at Georgia and will remain on scholarship," said coach Dennis Felton. "It is my hope that Takais continues his work toward earning his degree."
By the ATP for lack of his "best effort" in a loss at the St. Petersburg Open, Nikolay Davydenko (below). The top-seeded Russian was docked $2,000 after he dropped his second-round match to Marian Cilic 1--6, 7--5, 6--1 last Thursday. Davydenko double-faulted four times in the second set and six times in the third. He blamed his performance on a leg injury. "This is just outrageous," said Davydenko. "How does [the chair umpire] know what I was trying to do? I was so upset with the whole thing, I started crying." Earlier this year Davydenko retired from a match he was heavily favored to win. Later, it emerged that an online betting exchange had suspended action on the match because of irregular betting patterns. The ATP is still investigating that incident.
By the National Lacrosse League and its players' union, the 2008 season. The season had been canceled after the sides failed to agree on a collective bargaining agreement by the Oct. 15 deadline imposed by owners. But last week the sides finally hammered out a deal. "I wish I could say it was a great negotiating ploy, but I can't," Jim Jennings, the commissioner of the 20-year-old league said. "I know I was quoted as saying the season was impossible to get back, but I'm glad I was wrong."
By the Dallas Cowboys, their bid for the domain name cowboys.com. The team spent $499 to enter an auction for the name. Unbeknownst to the Cowboys, bidding was done in increments of $1,000, so what the team thought was its winning bid of $275 was really $275,000. The company putting on the auction, Moniker Online Services, allowed the Cowboys to back out of the deal, but perhaps the franchise (whose website resides at dallascowboys.com) should have flipped the domain name itself. Moniker sold it in a silent auction last week for $370,000.
Of two track and field national championships by the NCAA, the University of Arkansas. The Razorbacks reported violations committed by former assistant Lance Brauman, who gave improper benefits—transportation and lodging—to sprinter Justin Gay, who ran at the school in 2004 and '05. Arkansas said it will appeal. "We are disappointed with the penalties ... and believe they are disproportionate to the violations," said chancellor John White. Gay recently won three gold medals—in the 100- and 200-meters and the 4√ó100-meter relay—at the World Championships.
By major league executives and players, more than $267,000 to presidential candidates. According to USA Today, 59% of the money has gone to Republican candidates, with Rudy Giuliani (right) getting the most: more than $78,000, including $2,300 from third baseman Alex Rodriguez. Hillary Clinton received the most of any Democrat, with nearly $50,000.
At a memorial service in Bridgewater, N.J., last Thursday, Matthew Wasser, 22, a Yankees media relations intern who was killed in a traffic accident while in the Boston area for the ALCS. Wasser was assisting the Major League Baseball p.r. staff during the series; he died when the cab he was taking from Fenway Park was rear-ended by an allegedly drunken driver early on Oct. 21. Wasser, a senior communications major at the College of New Jersey, was to have graduated in December.
By commissioner David Stern, his intention to change the NBA's policy on gambling by referees. As previously written, the rules forbade any sort of gambling, even legal, except for off-season trips to horse racing tracks. In the wake of the revelation that former referee Tim Donaghy bet on NBA games and gave information to gamblers, the league discovered that all 56 of its refs were in violation of the policy, mostly for minor infractions such as playing poker, buying lottery tickets or gambling legally in a casino. Instead of throwing the book at the refs, Stern decided to relax the policy. "We're going to come up with a new set of rules that make sense," Stern said.
Twice As Nice
BOWLING WITH two hands will never be manly. But like Rick Barry—whose two-handed style made him the NBA's No. 2 career free throw shooter—bowler Cassidy Schaub (right) goes for substance over style. Schaub, 24, is succeeding with a technique most keglers drop when they can tie their shoes. Schaub, who finished third at this month's Panama Invitational, swings the ball to his side and then releases it with both hands. (Yes, it's legal.) The result, he says, is improved ball rotation and power.
Schaub, a member of the USBC national team, isn't the only two-fister: Australia's Jason Belmonte and Finland's Osku Palermaa use both hands. "It started at age five, when I was too small to carry the ball," Schaub says. "I got told by plenty of people that I was never going to be any good." They don't say that anymore.
Playing Through the Pain
AFTER HE ran for 232 yards in a 24--21 upset of Daleville on Oct. 19, Alabama Christian High fullback Jordan Creel was carried off the field by his teammates—not because of his career-best performance but because of the grace and poise he had shown under such trying circumstances. The day before, Jordan's 43-year-old mother, Karen, was killed when a fire engulfed the family's house outside Montgomery. Jordan, the only other person home when the smoke alarms went off at 3 a.m., could hear his mother's cries for help but was unable to reach her. Though still overwhelmed by what had happened, he decided he wanted to honor his mother on the field. "I know Jordan played his tail off for his mama," says his coach, Gregg Baker. "And I know my guys played their tails off for Jordan."
The Eagles, who wore black tape with the initials K.C. on their helmets, applauded the 16-year-old as he boarded the bus to the game and listened as he gave a heartfelt locker room speech before the game. "He's been at practice every day this week," says Baker. "He's inspiring to watch." Jordan has some inspiration of his own: He's saved the last voice mail he received from his mother, so anytime he wants, he can hear the happy voice that cheered him on. "She was always the loudest one in the stands," says Jordan.
They Said It
Dolphins linebacker, before the team's game in London:
"I couldn't find London on a map if they didn't have the names of the countries.... I don't know what nothing is. I know Italy looks like a boot.... I know London Fletcher.... He's black, so I'm sure he's not from London. I'm sure that's a coincidental name."
$117,000 Amount a fan of English soccer team West Ham United spent for the vanity license plate WE57 HAM at auction.
331 Points the Patriots have scored in their first eight games this year.
17 Teams that scored fewer than 331 points during the 2006 season.
50 Number of Pistons seasons in Detroit that a new logo on the floor of the Palace of Auburn Hills commemorates.
51 Number of seasons the Pistons have actually spent in Detroit.
215 Catches for Vanderbilt's Earl Bennett, who broke the SEC career receptions mark last Saturday in just the eighth game of his junior season.
141 Points scored by Weber State (73) and Portland State (68) in last Saturday's game, an NCAA all-division record for a football game.
139 Average total points in the three basketball games between Weber State and Portland State last year.
SIGN OF THE APOCALYPSE
A hippopotamus that had escaped from a wildlife park was found in a Chargers assistant coach's swimming pool.
TODD BENNETT/AP (BROWN)
TIM CULEK/WIREIMAGE.COM (MITCHELL)
GREGG SCHMITZ/USBC (SCHAUB)
COURTESY JIM AND KAREN SMITH (CREEL FAMILY)
KIN Jordan (between siblings Katelyn and Dale) couldn't reach Karen (left).
KAY KIRKLAND/THE SOUTHEAST SUN (CREEL)
IRINA ZYGAR/AP (DAVYDENKO)
FRANCE KASHMIR/SIPA (PICTURE THIS)
PICTURE THIS Blanche Olive, 95, skydives over Breville-sur-Mer in northern France.
NICK LAHAM/GETTY IMAGES (GIULIANI)
JC RIDLEY/CAL SPORT MEDIA (CROWDER)