<![CDATA[NBC4 Washington - Sports]]> Copyright 2014 http://www.nbcwashington.com/news/sports http://media.nbcbayarea.com/designimages/WASH+NBC4+BLUE.png NBC4 Washington http://www.nbcwashington.com en-us Tue, 29 Jul 2014 19:01:30 -0400 Tue, 29 Jul 2014 19:01:30 -0400 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Relaxed RGIII Enjoying Training Camp, Happy With Team]]> Tue, 29 Jul 2014 16:30:46 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/WRC_0000000007332495_1200x675_313359939953.jpg Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III tells News4's Dianna Russini he is having fun at training camp and feels good about the team.]]> <![CDATA[Caps' Trotz Discusses Lineup Construction]]> Tue, 29 Jul 2014 11:36:09 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/194*120/478767155.jpg.jpg

As the hockey wasteland that is August approaches, starved fans are scrounging for any morsels of information they can sink their teeth into.

Washington Capitals coach Barry Trotz provided plenty of tasty tidbits in an interview with NHL.com's Dan Rosen on Tuesday, offering a window into his thought process regarding how Washington's lineup may look come October. 

As has become customary in these parts, the position of second-line center is once again vacant following the departure of Mikhail Grabovski, who signed a four-year, $20 million contract with the New York Islanders earlier this month. With roughly $1.1 million in available salary-cap space, the in-house options are really the only options.

General manager Brian MacLellan previously offered Marcus Johansson, Evgeny Kuznetsov and Brooks Laich as potential replacements. Trotz recently told CBC's Elliotte Friedman that "the third linemate with Ovechkin/Nicklas Backstrom probably depends on who becomes the second-line [center]."

For the past two seasons, that third linemate has primarily been Johansson, who spent 56.2 percent and 54.2 percent of his 5-on-5 ice time with Ovechkin and Backstrom last season, respectively. (In 2012-13, Johansson spent roughly 72 percent of his ice time with the Capitals' superstars.)

Yet Trotz envisions starting the 23-year-old at center. With Johansson, Kuznetsov and potentially 2013 first-round pick Andre Burakovsky (whose "outstanding" performance at center -- a position he was largely unfamiliar with -- during this month's development camp impressed the higher-ups), Trotz is hopeful that Washington will boast formidable center depth.

"I'm going to let them play it out," Trotz told Rosen. "We're going to try to get the best three up the middle in terms of the people who are really good at distributing the puck and making things happen from the middle of the ice....I'm going to let them play through the camp, but my vision is that Johansson will play in the middle and Kuznetsov or Burakovsky will play in the middle and one will have to move to the wall. In today's game, the more options you have the better off you are.

"The center-ice position is where I'm going to focus a lot of attention. I think we're going to be a lot deeper through the middle of the ice then I even expected."

On the wings, Trotz foresees a more prominent role for Tom Wilson, who was utilized exclusively in a fourth-line role as a rookie. The bruising Wilson is recovering from offseason surgery to repair a fractured left fibula, but Trotz expects him to be ready for the start of training camp in September.

"When I first talked to [MacLellan], when we both got hired, one of the things I said is based on watching him play and seeing where he is, he needs to move up the lineup," Trotz said of Wilson. "He's got a lot of the qualities of a Milan Lucic-type player, a power forward, physical, but he has the ability to get around the ice and the ability with the hands to do something. I can see him moving up the ladder....Down the road I think he's going to be a top-six forward. I think he's a guy that's going to move up really quickly."

The shuffling of the center depth chart will also push Eric Fehr, who mostly centered the third line last season, back to his natural wing position.

Fehr is an intriguing option to join the first line. He has had success playing opposite Ovechkin, though in a limited capacity. Since 2010 (excluding a one-year stint with the Winnipeg Jets in 2011-12), Fehr and Ovechkin have played 174:29 of 5-on-5 time together while controlling 56 percent of shot attempts

Regardless of how Trotz ultimately constructs his lineup, he has several options to toy with when the Capitals reconvene for training camp in roughly six weeks. 

"Through Brooks Laich, Troy Brouwer -- one of them might have to play on the top line -- Kuznetsov, Johansson, Burakovsky, Fehr, I think we can probably establish a pretty good second line," he said. "If we can do that the depth of the third line will be very good too."

In the mean time, Trotz's thoughts have left the rest of us playing what he has been known to call "fantasy hockey," a welcome distraction from the midsummer doldrums. 


Follow Adam on Twitter @AdamVingan and e-mail your story ideas to adamvingan (at) gmail.com.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[D.C. Lawyer Elected as NBPA Executive Director]]> Tue, 29 Jul 2014 08:55:13 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/215*120/636271.jpg.jpg

The National Basketball Players Association has elected Washington-based trial lawyer Michele A. Roberts as its newest executive director, according to multiple reports.

Roberts, of law firm Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom, "has been called the finest pure trial lawyer in Washington, D.C. by Washingtonian Magazine." She also served for eight years in the office of the Public Defender Service for D.C.

“On behalf of the NBA, I would like to congratulate Michele Roberts on her appointment as the NBPA’s new Executive Director and look forward to working with her and the NBPA Executive Committee to ensure the continued health and growth of our game," NBA commissioner Adam Silver said in a release. "The partnership between our players and teams is the backbone of the league, and we are eager to continue working with the Players Association to build this relationship."

Roberts will be the NBPA's sixth executive director and first woman to hold the position. She replaces Billy Hunter, who was removed in Feb. 2013


Follow Adam on Twitter @AdamVingan and e-mail your story ideas to adamvingan (at) gmail.com.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[GoPro at Training Camp With RGIII, Ryan Clark]]> Mon, 28 Jul 2014 20:08:29 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/WRC_0000000007322660_1200x675_313140291866.jpg Take a look at training camp fans from the perspective of Robert Griffin III and Ryan Clark. News4's Dianna Russini reports.]]> <![CDATA[Russini in Richmond: Tough Practice on Day 5]]> Mon, 28 Jul 2014 15:21:31 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/redskins+training+camp+day+5+gabe+miller+ted+bolser.jpg

The Redskins practiced in full pads Monday.

The best news at camp: This team isn't dealing with any major injuries.

The team cut Brandon Jenkins Sunday and signed his replacement defensive end Everette Brown Monday afternoon.

On the field Pierre Garcon looked sharp despite pulling up with a sore hamstring. He said it's fine and a day off will help.

DeSean Jackson says the offense is starting to improve every singe day.

I sat down with tight end Jordan Reed today to talk about his plan to stay healthy this season. Although he experienced concussions he will not be wearing a special helmet. He told me to keep an eye on running back Silas Redd, who had a great practice today.

Robert Griffin III spoke about feeling calm without any pressure. He says he has so much belief in his teammates this season, he doesn't feel stressed or uptight.

Every player is looking forward to a much needed day off Tuesday!



Photo Credit: Chris Kerwin, NBCWashington.com]]>
<![CDATA['Skins Fan Turns Autographs Into Tattoos]]> Mon, 28 Jul 2014 15:08:57 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/205*120/159039408.jpg.jpg

Thousands of fans have attended the Redskins' first few training-camp practices thus far. Friday, a combined 8,600 people watched both sessions, while 6,668 came out for Military Appreciation Day on Sunday.

One of those fans was 41-year-old Charlie White, who has been collecting the signatures of all 22 starters...on his arm so that he can immediately have them tattooed.

"I believe in getting starters on my arm for a reason," White told ESPN's John Keim. "It's because I bleed burgundy and gold."

Sunday, White received autographs from defensive backs Ryan Clark and Brandon Meriweather, wide receivers DeSean Jackson and Santana Moss, as well as quarterback Robert Griffin III. 

As for the lady in his life, White's wife supports his ambition.

"She knows that between fishing and the Redskins, leave me alone," he said.


Follow Adam on Twitter @AdamVingan and e-mail your story ideas to adamvingan (at) gmail.com.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Gruden's Imprint on Camp]]> Mon, 28 Jul 2014 00:05:27 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/WRC_0000000007310864_1200x675_312837699718.jpg News4's Dianna Russini joins the Redskins at training camp in Richmond, and sees the impact a new coach is having.]]> <![CDATA[Russini in Richmond: 'Skins Roster Moves]]> Sun, 27 Jul 2014 20:05:24 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/WRC_0000000007310035_1200x675_312811075836.jpg Physicality is the theme of practice at Redskins Training Camp in Richmond now. Dianna Russini reports.]]> <![CDATA[Over 25,000 Compete in SF Marathon]]> Sun, 27 Jul 2014 19:05:27 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/181*120/marathon_preps_sf2.jpg

Thousands of people from all over the country winded their way through the streets of San Francisco bright and early Sunday to compete in the city's annual marathon.

The first race started at 5:30 a.m., and the route kicked off and finished along the Embarcadero, with stops through the Marina, Golden Gate Bridge, the Park and the Presidio--tracing the northern part of the city.

There were temporary closures and transit changes, as more than 25,000 people laced up for the race.

"It does frustrate me a little bit because it does get very crowded--it's already crowded sometimes for the ballgames," runner Rachel Amaya said. "But it does get crowded."

"I did not know there was a lot of stuff going on, but I’m used it being from LA," runner Chad Eichten said. "And there is always stuff going on, so you just figure out ways around it."

The marathon's conclusion was around 1 p.m.

A Berkeley woman won the San Francisco Marathon for the second year in a row, and a man from Reno, Nevada earned his first win.

Anna Bretan finished the 26.2-mile course in two hours, 47 minutes and 50 seconds, according to race officials.

That is just slightly longer than the two hours, 42 minutes and 25 seconds it took the mother of three to win the race in 2013.

Bretan also, notably, was the women's winner of the 2012 Oakland Marathon.

On the men's side, race officials report August Brautigam beat his competitors by crossing the finish line in two hours, 32 minutes and 16 seconds.

But just a few hours later, more sports fans will head to the city, as the San Francisco Giants try and avoid the sweep against their division rivals, the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Cal-train is adding extra capacity for riders coming to the city for the game--or for people attending a late afternoon soccer match with the San Jose Earthquakes at Candlestick Park.

]]>
<![CDATA[Russini in Richmond: RG3 Looks Good, Wins Praise]]> Sun, 27 Jul 2014 14:17:17 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/robert+griffin+fans.jpg

Hi Guys!

I cannot imagine how difficult it was for the players to wake up this morning. It was cool, rainy, and early -- the perfect sleeping weather!

Oh yeah, they also were in pads yesterday for the first time so their bodies are sore.

Coach Jay Gruden told me he expected the guys to look tired maybe even a little beat up but he thought they came out hungry to play. Coach says he wants all these practices to have 3 themes and that’s physicality, full speed action, and high pressure on this offense.

RG3 looked the best he has today as did Kirk Cousins especially on a play where DeSean Jackson met 2nd year corner David Amerson. Cousins dropped back and threw deep and high -- and found DJax.

The play pumped up everyone -- even the new Redskins receiver.

  • DeSean Jackson praised RG3 for his accountability. Robert appreciates his teammates standing by their quarterback.
  • Pierre Garcon gave me the best answer when I asked him if he was sore. "I'm use to it, I'm one giving out the physiciality.
  • Andre Roberts pointed out that many players that you wouldn't think are that good start showing their skills now that the pads are on. "Lot of people are good at flag football when you don't have pads on, its more physical with pads."
  • The Redskins have canceled Monday's second session practice.
  • The best news? No major injuries.

See you on TV at 6 and 11 on NBC4.

 

]]>
<![CDATA[Caps' Ward Provides Perspective On Trotz]]> Mon, 28 Jul 2014 10:46:01 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/201*120/187631356.jpg.jpg

By now, we are keenly aware that Washington Capitals coach Barry Trotz has begun to foster a cultural shift within the organization, one built on structure, discipline and accountability.

It will be at least two more months when the team reconvenes for training camp in September -- perhaps longer -- until Trotz's vision and how the Capitals adjust to it can be tangibly seen. 

Yet there is one current Capital that has the ability to provide insight into how players function in Trotz's demanding environment: forward Joel Ward, who spent three seasons under Trotz with the Nashville Predators for three seasons (2008-11).

"Barry's just detailed," Ward said Saturday prior to an appearance at the Capitals' annual summer blood drive. "He's a simple, very detailed guy. He's a big family guy, great family. I think he's going to make sure that we're all very close together and closer as a unit on and off the ice.

"On ice, I expect us to be a lot more detailed, I think. You'll get a sense of that I think right away of guys having to do some homework at times. Again, it's going to be fun though. At the same time, it's going to be a hardworking team. From my years of experience in Nashville, we weren't the most talented I'd say on paper, but we always found a way of just being hardworking and earning our grit in points. I expect us to do that here."

Under former coach Adam Oates last season, the Capitals were frequently undercut by a lack of uniformity, leading to their exclusion from the Stanley Cup playoffs for the first time in seven years and Oates' dismissal in April.  Such aimlessness is not expected to continue with Trotz in charge. 

Ward lamented losing yet another coach (the third time that has happened since he arrived in Washington three summers ago), but he is eager to prove himself once again. 

“I was a little upset with the fact that we had to change coaches again,” he said. “You try to gain a rapport with one and you try to build off that. Again, it’s definitely a good sign to have somebody that I knew a little bit. Hopefully [Trotz] thinks I got better since then and we keep going from there.”

From a personal standpoint, Ward will attempt to improve upon a career season in which he set personal bests in goals (24) and points (49) while being entrusted with more responsibility.

The 33-year-old hopes to be paired with his "twin," forward Jason Chimera, with whom he developed undeniable chemistry last season after sharing 84.3 percent of his even-strength ice time with the speedy veteran. Even then, Ward does not intend to reconfigure his on-ice mindset.

"I think when you start worrying about stats and whatnot, then I think you might lose focus," he said. "I think the main thing for me is just going out there and trying to work hard."

For now, Ward will return to his native Toronto to prepare for the upcoming season, attending Blue Jays games and serving as his teammates' guide to Trotz in between. 

“I think now I’ve got to tell some guys a few things,” Ward said, laughing. “It’s definitely been a good relationship in the past and hopefully keep that going. Definitely I can always teach a few guys some of the tendencies and some of the things that we’ve done back in Nashville that I’m sure he’ll carry over.”


Follow Adam on Twitter @AdamVingan and e-mail your story ideas to adamvingan (at) gmail.com.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Russini in Richmond: Putting on the Pads in Day 3]]> Sat, 26 Jul 2014 14:38:44 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/RedskinsFlag+.jpg

News4's Dianna Russini is in Richmond throughout Redskins Training Camp, and sending regular reports. Here's today's news from camp.

Hey Guys!

Day 3 of Training Camp here in Richmond and the shoulder pads are on! After months of running plays wearing shorts, the team finally is playing real football.

The best part, nobody is playing politely. The intensity, the tempo, the competition, everything has picked up. Right off the bat, you could feel the difference out on the field.

Robert Griffin III says they talked about it in the locker room, when the pads are on, that's when you find out the real football players. They can be very revealing.

It is the truth too, many players don't feel like "its real" until the pads are on. Cornerback DeAngelo Hall said he was actually a little nervous putting them on because he knows its time to start hitting. After the first couple pops, he says he was settled.

Rookie LB Trent Murphy told me he was a frustrated with some of his play (he also admits he's a perfectionist) but getting the first hit felt like cleaning off the dust.

Brian Orakpo calls it just another day in the office for him. He says when you are in the trenches all the time you always feel like you are in pads. DeSean Jackson also loves the idea of getting back to real football he calls it.

  • The best play in camp so far was DeAngelo Hall's pick 6. Robert Griffin III's throw to DJax on the right side cleanly intercepted by Hall.

After practice he told me he showed DJax a picture of a lion this morning with the quote "If you want to be lion you have to train with the lions" (You can look at my twitter @nbcDianna, DeAngelo tweeted me the picture.)

  • Ryan Clark wore his white game pants to practice. He was the only one. He told me that he's in game mode. He also tried to get the rest of the defense to do it but nobody would listen to him. He laughed and said his leadership needs to improve.
  • Offensive Coordinator Sean McVay is the most active person on the field. He never stops running around, talking, cheering, getting in player's faces. He's only 28 year old. He also always wears a long sleeve shirt...even in the heat. I'm interviewing him later and that will air Sunday night at 11:30pm.
  • Jay Gruden's wife was on the sidelines today, we will talk to her later today too about this experience as a first time, first tim head coach's wife
     


Photo Credit: File Photo ]]>
<![CDATA[Reinsdorf Hospitalized in New York]]> Sat, 26 Jul 2014 04:49:52 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/Reinsdorf+Smart.jpg

Chicago Bulls and White Sox Chairman Jerry Reinsdorf was hospitalized Friday night after an "episode of light-headedness," the Chicago White Sox said in a statement.

Reinsdorf's "episode" required medical attention during his stay in Cooperstown, New York. He was taken to Bassett Medical Center where he will stay overnight "as a precautionary measure."

"All tests tonight indicate that he is fine," the team said in a statement. "He is coherent, is resting comfortably and is communicating with his doctors and medical staff."

He is expected to be released Saturday morning.

Reinsdorf is in New York to attend this weekend's Hall of Fame induction of former White Sox star Frank Thomas.



Photo Credit: Getty Images ]]>
<![CDATA[Russini in Richmond: RG3 Working on Chemistry With Djax]]> Sat, 26 Jul 2014 07:26:35 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/2014-07-24_1109.jpg

News4's Dianna Russini is in Richmond throughout Redskins Training Camp, and sending regular reports. Here's today's news from camp:


Happy Friday! It's Day 2 of Redskins Training Camp. It's a beautiful day here in Richmond; not a cloud in the sky. The ground is still wet from Thursday's storms, although the field held up well and didn't seem to affect any of the plays this morning.

On the sidelines today is Jay Gruden's older brother, Jon, a Super Bowl champ and former head coach of two NFL teams. He's here to attend a high school football training camp. I'll try to talk to him about what he is seeing after the first session today. The Grudens' father is also on the sideline.

The team has been starting off practice with stretching and then they go right into special teams work.

Once the team broke into individual training, I watched the tight ends, specifically Jordan Reed working on his run blocking. Reed is considered to be one the top offensive players on this team if he can say healthy. Offensive Coordinator Sean McVay once told me if Jordan Reed could sleep in his football gear, he would. That's how much he loves this game.

RG3 had a rough day yesterday completing passes to DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garcon, but today he's seemed to settle in the pocket more comfortably.

While he looked better, he's finding chemistry with DJax. He had DJax on a roll-out pass but he overthrew it. This is a work in progress.

Head Coach Jay Gruden is the most active coach I have ever covered. He jumps in plays and covers receivers when they are working on their routes. He is a former QB who we can tell loves to be on the field. This is a different style then the Shanahan era, but let's see if it works!

Couple thoughts:

  • Pierre Garcon looked sharp catching some passes with tight coverage.

  • Richard Crawford jammed his finger and looked like he was in pain. But a few plays later, he made a stellar catch. Guess he's OK!

  • Running back Silas Redd stood out in practice, tearing through the defense.

  • RG3's mother is wearing the coolest umbrella hat. I'll post a picture later.

  • A report came out that Mike Shanahan wants to return to coaching.... I'm all for that!

After the first session, I'll be talking to RG3, Andre Roberts, DJax, Ryan Kerrigan, and Santana Moss. Will keep you posted.



Photo Credit: Dianna Russini]]>
<![CDATA[Redskins Fans Discuss Team Name at Training Camp]]> Thu, 24 Jul 2014 20:35:57 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/WRC_0000000007290297_1200x675_312252483630.jpg News4's Chris Gordon spoke to fans at training camp in Richmond about the name "Redskins."]]> <![CDATA[Former Redskin Fred Davis Pleads Not Guilty in D.C. Assault]]> Thu, 24 Jul 2014 17:29:54 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/180*120/152651518+%281%29.jpg

Former Washington Redskins tight end Fred Davis, wanted since last month for a domestic violence simple assault that allegedly occurred last month in Adams Morgan, pleaded not guilty in court Thursday.

Davis turned himself in to D.C. police Thursday afternoon and could face up to a year in prison if he's convicted on assault and attempted threats.

According to a police report, the incident took place about 3 a.m. June 2 at The Diner, a 24-hour restaurant in the 2400 block of 18th Street NW.

Davis confronted his ex-girlfriend shortly after she arrived at the restaurant with a male acquaintance, according to the incident report. He approached from behind, put his hands on her shoulders and spun her around to face him, then asked the other man why he was with her.

The woman excused herself to have a cigarette, and Davis followed her outside and “grabbed a handful of dirt and flowers from the hanging plant box and threw them at her," according to the report. She then went inside to get a ketchup bottle to squirt on Davis, but someone stopped her.

The argument carried on outside for sometime during which Davis allegedly said to the woman, "I'm gonna slap you cause you fakin. Your friend looks like 2 Chainz."

The victim, 28, told police that she was unharmed and did not call police until the following afternoon because she wanted to make sure she had her facts straight. 

Davis, who lives in Leesburg, was suspended indefinitely by the NFL in February for violating the league's substance abuse policy. The following day, he was arrested for driving under the influence in Fairfax County.

He's due back in court Aug. 28.

The 28-year-old appeared in 72 games for Washington between 2008-13, catching 162 passes for 2,043 yards and 13 touchdowns. 


Follow Adam on Twitter @AdamVingan and e-mail your story ideas to adamvingan (at) gmail.com.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Redskins Kick Off Training Camp With First Practice ]]> Fri, 25 Jul 2014 05:16:10 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/0724Redskins1.jpg Redskins training camp kicked off Thursday -- check out photos from the first practice of the season.

Photo Credit: Zora Stephenson/News4 ]]>
<![CDATA[Russini in Richmond: 2nd Practice Moved, Closed to Public]]> Thu, 24 Jul 2014 15:59:11 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/2014-07-24_1109.jpg

UPDATE: The Redskins' second practice of the day Thursday has been moved to the convention center due to weather, but it is closed to the general public.


News4's Dianna Russini is in Richmond throughout Redskins Training Camp, and sending regular reports. Here's today's news from camp:

Hey, guys!

It's R3 here... Redskins, Richmond and rain! What an ugly first training camp practice for first-time head coach Jay Gruden.

All morning long, the rain came down steadily. There was concern that practice would be moved indoors, but instead the Redskins pushed practice back 30 minutes. That didn't help, though, because it poured through the first hour of practice.

Ryan Clark started things off by walking around with an umbrella welcoming fans to Richmond. The crowd loved it. He quickly jumped into stretching along with the rest of the team.

One of the biggest concerns watching practice was how much would this wet surface effect the play. From my vantage point, Robert Griffin III didn't look like he was hesitant at all working through drills and individual work. Remember he isn't wearing a knee brace. I'll ask him how he felt coming up in his press conference.

Jason Hatcher, who is on the PUP, worked out on the side field and looked great! Coach Gruden expects him to be back on the field with the team soon.

If you want to know what it feels like out here now? It's a sauna! I'll be back with more this afternoon.

UPDATE:

The knee wasn't a problem. That's what RG3 said about playing in the rain and on the wet field Thursday morning. It's always very risky to play on the wet surface, but first-year head coach Jay Gruden wanted to get this team out on the field.

Couple thoughts:

  • Andre Roberts says he did not wake up thrilled to see the rain, especially coming from Arizona. He slipped once, but no major problems.

  • Brian Orakpo says it's "so weird" not having veteran London Fletcher, who retired last season, out on the field for cap.

  • Speaking of London, Keenan Robinson will wear the earpiece and call the defenses for the Redskins this season.

  • Couple of bad passes between RG3 and DJax, but Griffin says it's still a work in progress.

  • DeAngelo Hall is the happiest I have ever seen him. He was talking to fans, cheering on teammates, and even stopped by the media tents that had reporters standing in them that covered him at Virginia Tech.

  • RG3's mom sat in the rain on the sidelines.

  • I bought a bucket hat for Jim Vance. He nagged me for six months last year to get him one.

The team will practice at 4 p.m. See you on News4 at 4, too!



Photo Credit: Dianna Russini]]>
<![CDATA['Skins Fans Brave Downpours to Attend Camp]]> Thu, 24 Jul 2014 11:19:41 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/198*120/BtUCCHfCMAAo7a-.jpg.jpg

Football season is officially here as the Redskins' first practice of training camp is underway in Richmond. 

As camp kicked off at around 8:30 a.m., Richmond was enveloped by a steady stream of storms, leaving the uncovered masses soaking wet. No matter, though.  

Points for dedication. There were roughly 1,000 fans in attendance when camp convened.

You know, if you download the Storm Team 4 app for your phone, then you would know what to expect weather-wise as you migrate to Richmond. (Check's in the mail, right, Doug?)


Follow Adam on Twitter @AdamVingan and e-mail your story ideas to adamvingan (at) gmail.com.



Photo Credit: @BrittMcHenry]]>
<![CDATA[Which Caps 'D' Should Run PP?]]> Thu, 24 Jul 2014 12:06:42 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/209*120/185770148.jpg.jpg

For all that went wrong for the Washington Capitals last season, the power play was once again a source of strength. Tbe Capitals converted 23.4 percent of their power-play opportunities last season, tied for the highest success rate in the NHL. 

Opposing teams have struggled to thwart Washington's 1-3-1 formation, choreographed by former coach Adam Oates and overseen by assistant coach Blaine Forsythe. In all, the Capitals have scored a league-leading 107 5-on-4 goals over the past two seasons.

The man advantage should become even more formidable next season with the respective arrivals of assistant coach Todd Reirden and defenseman Matt Niskanen from the Pittsburgh Penguins, who have scored an NHL-leading 164 power-play goals since 2011 (and were the team which tied the Capitals atop the power-play percentage leaderboard last season).

Reirden will collaborate with Forsythe on the power play, and even with Oates having been replaced by Barry Trotz, it does not make too much sense to fix what it is not broken. 

Niskanen's addition provides the Capitals with three right-handed defensemen with power-play credentials, Mike Green and John Carlson being the others. In the interest of killing time during the midsummer doldrums, which defenseman should anchor Washington's vaunted power play?

Below is a chart documenting each player's power-play statistics during 5-on-4 play last season. A simplified explanation of the terms is underneath the chart. 

  Goals  Assists  TOI/G  PShr  SP  Shots  ON%  Shots/60  iFenwick/60
Green  3  11  2:45  51.9%  88  35  46.1%  11.77  18.498
Carlson  5  16  3:08  53.9%  95  69  56.6%  16.72  21.081
Niskanen  3  12  2:59  45.5%  73  51  47.2%  12.81  19.086

(All statistics courtesy of NHL.comExtraSkater.com and stats.hockeyanalysis.com)

  • TOI/G: Power-play time on ice per game
  • PShr (Point share): Percentage of on-ice goals player had a point on (goals, assists)
  • SP (Setup passes): Estimate of passes by player that directly resulted in a shot attempt
  • ON% (On-net percentage): Percentage of shots by player that hit the net
  • Shots/60: Shots on goal by player per 60 minutes
  • iFenwick/60: Shots on goal/shot attempts (missed shots) by player per 60 minutes

Based on the table, Carlson was the most productive of the trio, scoring the most points, having a hand in the most goals and generating the most accurate shot attempts. (Carlson saw significantly more time on the power play than Green -- 257:56 to 193:31. Niskanen totaled 242:26.)

Something to consider: Carlson was one of three defensemen last season -- Philadelphia's Kimmo Timonen and Detroit's Niklas Kronwall were the others -- to average at least three minutes of power-play ice time and shorthanded ice time per game. He was also on the ice for 65.2 percent of Washington's shorthanded situations last season, the highest percentage in the NHL.

Carlson will assuredly continue to play a integral role on Washington's penalty kill next season. If Trotz wanted to spell Carlson for a few minutes with the Capitals on the power play, then he has two viable alternatives in Green and Niskanen, neither of whom are typically relied upon to kill penalties.

At the risk of copping out, the Capitals have three capable defensemen who can contribute to the power play. They are in good hands with all three and it never hurts to have options.


Follow Adam on Twitter @AdamVingan and e-mail your story ideas to adamvingan (at) gmail.com.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Nats' Barrett Wins National Anthem Standoff]]> Thu, 24 Jul 2014 10:29:48 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/209*120/Screen+Shot+2014-07-23+at+8.10.22+PM.png

Prior to the Nationals' afternoon game against the Rockies on Wednesday, Washington pitcher Aaron Barrett and Colorado outfielder Brandon Barnes had an old-fashioned standoff following the National Anthem.

The stalemate lasted several minutes as Barrett was fanned and hydrated by teammates. Jerry Blevins applied sunscreen on his fellow pitcher's neck. First base coach Tony Tarasco delivered an animated pep talk. 

Barnes suggested a game of rock-paper-scissors to crown the victor, but Barrett had none of it. With Denard Span in the batter's box to lead off the game, Barnes blinked first, leaving Barrett the exuberant winner.

“The umpire looked at me and was like, ‘If there’s a pitch and you’re still there, you’re gone,’ ” Barnes told the Denver Post.

“It was a big win for the team,” Barrett told The Washington Post. “They were getting pretty serious behind me. He wanted to do Rock, Paper, Scissors for the end. The guys were like, ‘You better not lose.’ I didn’t want to hear the wrath of the team if I would have lost. Why not? It was fun. It was good camaraderie.”
 


Follow Adam on Twitter @AdamVingan and e-mail your story ideas to adamvingan (at) gmail.com.



Photo Credit: MLB.com]]>
<![CDATA[Zimmerman Out With 'Substantial' Hamstring Strain]]> Wed, 23 Jul 2014 19:20:25 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/218*120/452542696.jpg.jpg

Not long after he returned from missing 44 games with a fractured thumb, Nationals third baseman Ryan Zimmerman has once again landed on the disabled list, this time with a "pretty substantial" right hamstring strain. 

Zimmerman had been on a tear at the plate, hitting .362 with six doubles and two home runs in July. He injured himself Tuesday against the Rockies sprinting up the first-base line.

The Nationals have been a much better team with Zimmerman than without. Washington is 33-19 when he starts and now 22-25 when he does not after a 6-4 loss to Colorado Wednesday.

"You don't ever want to see that happen to any of your teammates," Nationals first baseman Adam LaRoche told reporters. "But a guy who has battled back from one injury and is a core piece of your lineup, that stings a little more."


Follow Adam on Twitter @AdamVingan and e-mail your story ideas to adamvingan (at) gmail.com.


 



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Russini in Richmond: Getting Ready for Day One]]> Wed, 23 Jul 2014 18:25:19 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/20140723+Gruden.jpg

News4's Dianna Russini is in Richmond throughout Redskins Training Camp, and sending regular reports. Here's today's news from camp:

Hello from Richmond! It's about 93 degrees but feels like 103. All the team stores, food trucks, and tents are set up, ready to go for tomorrow.

Today, the players reported to training camp at the Bon Secours training facility. The team worked out for about 20 minutes; only one player failed their conditioning test (that would be Mo Hurt).

Tomorrow Jason Hatcher, Leonard Hankerson, Stephen Bowen, and Mo Hurt will start on the PUP list.

Robert Griffin III did walk out on the field early Wednesday to watch some of his teammates stretching and going through conditioning work. Like always, he was all smiles as he gets ready for his third season at quarterback with the Redskins. Remember RG3 didn't have a preseason last year since he was still rehabbing his knee.

First-year head coach Jay Gruden spoke to reporters for about 20 minutes. My 3 take aways:

  1. He wants RG3 to get as many reps as possible
  2. Picking and choosing the best players for this 53 man roster will be difficult but that's what they want. That means it's competitive out on the field.
  3. For any head coach, a first training camp can be challenging. Gruden has spoken to lots of current and past coaches and even took advice from many assistants to what works and what doesn't in camp.

The players told me they are happy with his first decision on this team: early morning practices. Practice gets going Thursday at 8:45 a.m. in front of the thousands of fans that will show up.

RG3 will speak to the media tomorrow. Tweet me or write to me if you have a specific question you would like to see him address. I'll try to get in what I can.

A few tips for those who are going:

  • If you like those Redskins bucket hats, the team store here in Richmond has them. $30 each. They sold out in two days last year.
  • Don't stand near the ropes. The reporters have to stand on the sidelines to take notes. We get in the way! Find higher ground.
  • RGIII is known to stay out on the field for up to an hour after practice signing ... so don't give up!
]]>
<![CDATA[Redskins Training Camp: Everything You Need to Know]]> Wed, 23 Jul 2014 18:51:49 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/20140218+DeAngelo+Hall.jpg

For most people, summer is the time to take a vacation -- but for D.C.'s football players, it's time to get serious. The Washington Redskins begin their training for the 2014 season Thursday ... and you’re invited.

The event is a great chance for Redskins fans to connect with the team, gear up for the coming football season and to take a break from the city. Check out our tips below to maximize your time at the event or to turn it into a weekend break.

Why Camp is Way Better Than the Regular Season

Training camp, the beginning of the pre-season for the Redskins, is when the team is put through its paces and the 53-man roster emerges. But it's also when the players take the time to meet with fans after their training sessions.

The public is invited to attend and can watch training exercises, including joint training with New England Patriots players on select days. There are also events, promotions and merchandise tents -- and best of all, admission is free.

Did we say free? Free.

Find the most up-to-date info on the Redskins site here.

How Do I Get to Training Camp?

The event is held at the Bon Secours Washington Redskins Training Center at 2401 West Leigh St in Richmond, Virginia.

Richmond is about two hours away by car. There are several parking lots for fans attending the camp, which cost $7 daily (cash only). The locations are all close to the Bon Secours Center, but a trolley shuttle will run between them for $2. The shuttle will run an hour before the first practice event and until an hour after the last. More information is available here.

No car? You can also take a bus for around $20 from Union Station or an Amtrak train, also from Union Station.

When Is Training Camp?

The event begins Thursday and runs through Aug. 11. Daily training is generally scheduled to begin at 8:35 a.m. and ends with a walkthrough at 4:10 p.m. Several days have special events or altered training times.

Fans are encouraged to arrive early to secure a good viewing spot (more on that below). Gates open at 8 a.m. and close at 6 p.m.

There is no training camp July 29, Aug. 3 and Aug 8. See more information on the schedule here.

How Can I Attend?

Attendance is free, but you will need to sign up for a Training Camp Pass on the Redskins site. Only one is necessary per family group. Signing up for a pass will also enter you into a drawing to win Redskins game tickets and merchandise.

Joint training sessions with the Patriots and Fan Appreciation Day are especially busy events. Passes for those events are provided via a lottery system on the above signup form.

However, attendance may be capped or changed on some other days, so check the Redskins site before you attend.

What Else Should I Know?

Amenities

Expect a merchandise tent, games and fan competitions, as well as several on-site food outlets. The center also includes a park with walking trails.

The Women of Washington Redskins will host events geared toward female 'Skins fans, and obstacle fitness courses will help younger fans let off some steam in. The Redskins Kids' Club will also keep younger fans entertained.

Redskins players, cheerleaders and coaches will sometimes be available to sign autographs and meet fans after training events.

Seating

There are no bleachers available, so guests have the option to either bring lawn chairs and blankets, or to sit in the outdoor amphitheater that overlooks the practice fields.

Standing areas offer fans the chance to stretch their legs and view the events from different vantage points.

Pets

Animals are not allowed at Training Camp (except service animals), so they can't join you during the day.

But that doesn't mean your four-legged friend has to miss out on all the fun. Old Towne Pet Resort (in both Springfield and Dulles) is offering a Dog Agility Training Camp on July 26 to celebrate the Redskins Training Camp.

Special Days

On Aug. 4, 5 and 6, the Redskins will be joined by the New England Patriots for joint training sessions. Fan Appreciation Day is scheduled for Saturday, Aug. 2 at 10:30 a.m.

What to Bring

Bring a cooler with food and non-alcoholic drinks if you want to picnic during camp. Alcohol, glass bottles and video cameras are not allowed at the event.

How Can I Make Training Camp Into a Mini-Vacation?

Richmond is a city steeped in history and famed for its museums, art and monuments. If you're excited about the Redskins Training Camp but need a break, the city could provide a great day trip or weekend getaway.

Where to Stay

If you're planning on staying the night, you have plenty of options throughout the city, including quaint bed and breakfasts as well as budget-friendly chains.

There are three possibilities within a few blocks of the training center. The cheapest is the Comfort Inn Conference Center Midtown about four blocks away, but there are also two bed and breakfasts nearby for a little more luxury. Maury Place at Monument and Grace Manor Inn both have five-star ratings on TripAdvisor.com.

Elsewhere, there are dozens of hotels in downtown Richmond, the Fan District and Shockoe Slip, all of which are within easy reach of the training center. Downtown offers dining and shopping, while the two latter neighborhoods are historical areas with great sightseeing opportunities.

How to Get Around

Driving is the easiest way to get to Richmond and to get around the city, but there are public transportation options available if you want to leave the car at home.

The Greater Richmond Transit System runs an extensive bus service that should get you to all of the city's attractions.

The closest bus stop to the training camp is to the west on North Boulevard Street at the intersection of West Moore Street, which is served by the 24 bus route. However, to the south, West Broad Street is served by several routes, including the 1, 2, 3, 6, 19 and 24 routes, Check out the schedules and routes here.

Where to Eat

The Magpie and Lunch two of the highest-rated Richmond restaurants on Yelp.com, and both are only a short walk away from the training center.

But to get into the spirit of football and tailgating, there are also several barbecue joints nearby. The most popular of those with Yelp users are Gus' Bar and Grill and Buz and Ned's Real Barbecue.

Where to Drink

If you're hoping to wash down a day of football with a beer at a sports bar, you'll have to go a little further afield. The Home Team Grill is a local chain that offers a location in the nearby Fan District, and is the closest sports bar to the training center.

If the Redskins excitement gets to be a little too much and you find yourself in need of a pick-me-up, try Sugar Shack Donuts just a short walk away on North Lombardy Street that offers coffee and donuts.

And if you do decide to stay the night in Richmond, why not make it a memorable experience? Infuzion is the club closest to the Redskins event, but there are also two bars nearby: Strange Matter, an arcade/music venue hybrid, and Empire, a lounge and indie bar. Both are a few blocks away, just off West Broad Street.

There are also several clubs in downtown Richmond. Some of the most popular are The National, a concert venue and club; Barcode, a gay bar and club; and Kai, a dance club.

What Else to Do

The Bon Secours Training Center is located just behind the Science Museum of Virginia and the Children's Museum of Richmond, making it an ideal location to entertain the family away from the field.

The Hardywood Craft Brewery is also just a block away, and yes -- they offer tours.

Depending on the length of your stay, there are plenty of other things to see and do a little further out.

For some more sports-related fun, the home of the Richmond Flying Squirrels minor league baseball team is a short walk away on North Boulevard Street. If you'd like to catch a game, see their schedule here.

The Richmond Kickers soccer team also plays just a little further away at UKROP Park on West Broad Street. Their schedule is available here.

Richmond is a city with a long and fascinating past, and it is home to some of Virginia's most treasured historical landmarks. If you plan to take in some of that history, consider visiting Maymont Park, The American Civil War Center, Richmond National Battlefield Park and The Virginia War Memorial. There are many other sites worth visiting too.

For a break from football, try the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts or tour the famous Hollywood Cemetery, which is the resting place of presidents James Monroe and John Tyler, as well as many other historical figures.

For something that takes a full day, though, you might want to consider Kings Dominion, which is only about 30 minutes north of Richmond by car. There is also an express bus service that runs there several times daily from downtown Richmond.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[What to Watch at Redskins Camp]]> Thu, 24 Jul 2014 08:51:58 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/205*120/186338485.jpg.jpg

Last season, the Redskins followed their NFC East championship in 2012 with a 3-13 record, their worst in nearly 20 years. The final weeks were marred by the deterioration of quarterback Robert Griffin III and coach Mike Shanahan's relationship, ultimately culminating with the latter's dismissal in December.

Yet training camp, which begins Thursday morning in Richmond, provides an opportunity for the team and fans alike to hit the proverbial "refresh button."

A new coach in Jay Gruden, a new offensive weapon in wide receiver DeSean Jackson and a healthy Griffin all provide fans with a modicum of hope. A 0-0 record never looked so good. 

Washington's season opener is less than two months away (Sept. 7 against Houston, to be exact), so consider this a primer of what to pay attention to at camp and in the upcoming weeks. 

All In For Weeks 1-16?

The motto of last summer's training camp was "All In For Week 1," a clever marketing campaign trumpeting the eventual return of Griffin from knee surgery.

Griffin was true to his word, starting Week 1 against the Eagles after eight months of relentless rehabilitation following a gruesome knee injury.

Yet he was never really there last seasonHindered by a clunky knee brace, Griffin was not the dynamic player that captivated the NFL in his rookie season. By season's end, he was on the bench watching, shut down by Shanahan as backup Kirk Cousins mercifully ended what was left of 2013.

Once seemingly impervious to criticism, everything about Griffin -- from his mechanics to his personality and leadership capabilities -- were nitpicked.

There have been no flashy catchphrases this summer (remember "Operation Patience"?). Griffin has kept himself out of the spotlight as much as someone of his stature possibly can. He will have the knowledge of Gruden (a former quarterback in his own right) at his disposal, as well as a stout receiving corps bolstered by the arrival of Jackson, a former division rival in Philadelphia.

Jackson offers a big-play threat (he has caught 21 touchdowns of 30-plus yards since 2008, tied for the most in the league), while Pierre Garcon returns as a trusty target. Add in tight end Jordan Reed (if healthy) and Griffin has numerous options. 

It is up to RGIII, however, to prove that he can be an effective passer (his completion percentage dropped from 65.6 percent in 2012 to 60.1 percent last season and he threw seven more interceptions) and playmaker (he rushed for 326 fewer yards last season, though that was more knee-related). 

If the Griffin that instilled hope in a downtrodden fan base two years ago can make an appearance this season, an overall improvement will be a given. 

Defense?

As the remnants of Shanahan's regime were removed from Ashburn, defensive coordinator Jim Haslett survived. 

That may have come as a surprise to some, considering Haslett's defenses have not been particularly stalwart during his tenure.

From ESPN Stats & Information:

During his tenure from 2010-13, the Redskins are cumulatively 29th in yards per play (5.75), 31st in yards per pass attempt (7.22), 21st in yards after contact (5,016) and 27th in points per game (25.2).

Those who regularly report on the team believe that the Redskins have too many holes on the defensive side of the ball. There are five likely starters, according to ESPN's John Keim, who are 30 or older. The Redskins' potential starting inside linebacker, Keenan Robinson, has 11 career tackles in two injury-plagued seasons. The secondary does not particularly inspire confidence either 

This should be obvious, but the Redskins have to tackle better as well. According to ESPN, "the Redskins allowed 756 yards after contact in the run game (23rd worst in the NFL) and 544 after contact by receivers (22nd worst) [last season]. They were 26th in the NFL for their combined yards after contact allowed." 

Meanwhile, the pass rush should improve in theory with the additions of defensive tackle Jason Hatcher and drafted linebacker Trent Murphy to aid Brian Orakpo and Ryan Kerrigan. To be frank though, a lot has to improve in order for Washington to be taken seriously. 

Gruden's Way

Those in the know have seen nothing but positive vibes emanating from Gruden thus far. It is a vast departure from the aforementioned contentiousness between Griffin and Shanahan that enveloped the Redskins at the end of last season.

"Owner Daniel Snyder and general manager Bruce Allen believe that Gruden’s style, approach, youth and experiences as a former quarterback will help restore order in that coach-quarterback relationship," wrote Mike Jones of The Washington Post. "So far, Griffin has praised Gruden for his communication skills, leadership style and vision for himself and the offense. Gruden, meanwhile, has praised Griffin’s approach to the game and willingness to learn."

What to watch for is how Gruden, formerly the offensive coordinator of the Bengals, handles the added responsibilities of coaching an entire football team as opposed to simply running the offense. 

"What if there’s an issue with Griffin? What if the defense doesn’t produce and he thinks the Skins need to tweak their scheme? Will Gruden be able to make those hard decisions when necessary? In-game and in-season adjustments matter greatly, and Gruden has to prove himself in this area," Keim wrote. "He was not a unanimous hotshot choice to be a head coach, but the Redskins believed in him and thought he could handle the job."

Above all else, leading a consistent winner will be Gruden's primary objective. All concerns will be washed away if the Redskins are a competitive football team. 


Follow Adam on Twitter @AdamVingan and e-mail your story ideas to adamvingan (at) gmail.com.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Arby's Gives RGIII's Parking Space to LaVar Arrington]]> Wed, 23 Jul 2014 14:36:33 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/arbys+parking+spot+reserved+for+lavar+arrington.jpg

Robert Griffin III lost his reserved parking spot at the Arby’s across the street from Redskins training camp in Richmond, but it’s not because of anything the star quarterback did.

The sign reserving the spot for RGIII last year included the official team logo, so Redskins lawyers politely asked owner Dean Kovanes to remove it.

In its place, a new sign reserving the spot for “Redskins great LaVar Arrington.”

“Being an Ohio State fan, he terrorized the Big Ten for many years [while playing for Penn State] and he's one of my favorite Redskins, so we just figured, Hey, if LaVar's in town, come on in and have a couple beef and cheddars,” Kovanes said. “We'd love to see you. You got your spot right here.”

Kovanes senses an annual tradition starting.

“We try to kind of have fun with it, and people through the year going, ‘Are you going to have a new sign this year?’ and of course we are,” he said. “We're going to have a new one for the Patriots, maybe.”

And he’s accepting suggestions for next year.

“If any Redskins fans have any ideas for next year, please let me know,” he said. “We'll be glad to use it if it's a good one.”

Training camp starts Thursday. News4 and NBCWashington.com will have extensive coverage.



Photo Credit: NBCWashington.com]]>
<![CDATA[Wizards Unveil Alternate Uniform ]]> Tue, 22 Jul 2014 11:57:48 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/214*120/cdn.mse.psddev.jpg

This post will serve as my first foray into fashion, as the Wizards have unveiled an alternate uniform that they'll wear during the 2014-15 season (although no specific dates have been determined).

"The new jersey will be primarily navy blue with red color-blocking at the top and 'Washington' listed on the front while the navy shorts will feature the secondary 'Monument' logo," according to a release.

Personally, I would have preferred a third stripe for consistency with the home and road uniforms, but no one is paying me for my fashion advice, so I will leave it at that. 

The jerseys will be available for purchase Oct. 1. Will you pick one up?


Follow Adam on Twitter @AdamVingan and e-mail your story ideas to adamvingan (at) gmail.com.



Photo Credit: Washington Wizards]]>
<![CDATA[Desmond's 5-Hit Night Gets Nats to First Place]]> Tue, 22 Jul 2014 09:35:06 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/208*120/452500340.jpg.jpg

At hitter-friendly Coors Field on Monday, Nationals shortstop Ian Desmond went five-for-five against the Colorado Rockies, driving in two runs and scoring three more for Washington's 7-2 victory.

Five hits tied a career high for Desmond, who became the ninth player this season to have five hits in-game while "batting 1.000," and the fourth to do so at Coors Field, according to Elias Sports Bureau. He last accomplished that feat in September 2011 against the Mets.

"I just look for the ball and swing as hard as I can," Desmond told reporters. Simple enough.

Even more important than Desmond's individual performance: The Nationals took over sole possession of first place in the National League East after the Braves lost to the Marlins.


Follow Adam on Twitter @AdamVingan and e-mail your story ideas to adamvingan (at) gmail.com.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[WNBA Coach Michael Cooper has Tongue Cancer]]> Mon, 21 Jul 2014 21:24:09 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/AP13030709140.jpg

Atlanta Dream coach Michael Cooper has early stage tongue cancer and has taken a leave from the WNBA team.

He will have surgery this week at Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University in Atlanta and a full recovery is expected, the Dream said Monday.

The 58-year-old coach is expected to miss about two weeks, with assistant coach Karleen Thompson filling in. Atlanta plays at Minnesota on Tuesday.

"I'm fortunate that my condition was diagnosed early, and this episode illustrates the importance of screening and early detection," Cooper said. "I know the team will be in good hands with coach Thompson at the helm during my absence, and I look forward to returning to the court soon."

Cooper is in his first season with Atlanta. His team leads the Eastern Conference with a 15-6 record. He coached the East to a 125-124 overtime victory at the WNBA All-Star game Saturday.

Cooper won five NBA titles as a shooting guard with the Los Angeles Lakers during the "Showtime" era from 1978-90. As a coach, he won two WNBA titles with the Los Angeles Sparks and one NBA Development League championships with Albuquerque.

After his second run with the Sparks, Cooper was hired as the women's coach at Southern California. He resigned in March following an 11-20 season, his first losing mark in four seasons.



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Over Ovi: Kirilenko Calls Off Engagement to NHL Star]]> Mon, 21 Jul 2014 20:45:45 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/WRC_0000000007247410_1200x675_310549059772.jpg It's a rough off-season for Alex Ovechkin of the Washington Capitals. His former fiancee, Russian tennis player Maria Kirilenko, called off the engagement.]]> <![CDATA[Dianna Russini Throws Out First Pitch]]> Mon, 21 Jul 2014 20:43:32 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/WRC_0000000007247399_1200x675_310547011659.jpg See News4's Dianna Russini's baseball debut as she throws out the first pitch at a Bethesda Big Train game.]]> <![CDATA[Will 'Skins Change Name by 2016?]]> Mon, 21 Jul 2014 12:10:34 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/218*120/Screen+Shot+2014-06-16+at+8.46.51+AM3.png

Redskins training camp is upon us, providing us with more to talk about than the incessant debate regarding their name.

With a few days to kill before Thursday, however, here is the latest opinion on the matter from Sports Illustrated's Peter King in the "Ten Things I Think I Think" section of his MMQ B column:

7. I think the Washington franchise will have a new team name by 2016. 

That's it. A simple and informed opinion. 

Earlier this year, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, a staunch supporter of a name change, predicted that the Redskins will indeed change their name within three years. Who knows at this point? 

What do you think? Could you be rooting for the Washington [insert name here] in two years? Do you care?


Follow Adam on Twitter @AdamVingan and e-mail your story ideas to adamvingan (at) gmail.com.



Photo Credit: YouTube]]>
<![CDATA[Redskins Announce Training Camp Ticket Lottery]]> Mon, 21 Jul 2014 11:40:32 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/216*120/149308618.jpg.jpg

There's been such a demand for the Redskins' annual Fan Appreciation Day during training camp (Aug. 2) and the joint practices with the Patriots (Aug. 4-6) that the team will hold a ticket lottery.

Visit redskins.com/trainingcamp to enter by noon on Friday, July 25.

Winners will be selected randomly, and will receive an email Saturday, July 26 with the link to a printable ticket with a unique bar code.

According to a press release, "based on NFL best practices, an automated, random lottery system is the most fair way to distribute complimentary tickets which will guarantee access to these high-demand events."

Consider this your reminder. You do not want to get shut out and end up like this morose fan.


Follow Adam on Twitter @AdamVingan and e-mail your story ideas to adamvingan (at) gmail.com.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Len Bias Inducted Into U.Md. Hall of Fame]]> Thu, 17 Jul 2014 20:58:05 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/160*120/110609+Len+Bias+2.jpg

A former University of Maryland basketball legend is getting a tribute some say is decades overdue.

Len Bias died from a cocaine overdose two days after the Boston Celtics selected him second in the 1986 NBA Draft. His controversial death delayed his induction into the Terrapins’ Hall of Fame until now.

This honor could pave the way for other tributes to Bias in the state.

“He represented to a lot of us who grew up in the county a sign of hope that you can make it out of the neighborhood, and here was an example,” said Maryland Sen. Victor Ramirez, D-District 47.

Ramirez, who graduated from Bias’ alma mater, Northwestern High School in Hyattsville, encountered major resistance when he tried to have a statue of Bias erected at the school last year.

“I think people were still looking at the negative side of it and I think it was a learning experience for all of us,” he said.

He hopes the Hall of Fame induction will lead to something being named after Bias in Prince George’s County.

“To see him develop into the player and, really, the person that he was, I think that’s what’s kind of been forgotten here,” said Kevin Glover, a former NFL player who knew Bias well.

Glover sat on the committee that voted Bias into the Hall this year, which wasn’t an easy decision.

“A lot of spirited conversation,” he said. “Most of it was very good.”

Bias’ coach at Maryland, Lefty Driesell, stepped down after his death along with many others connected to the program. Many considered his death an embarrassment, complicating his legacy.

“We just feel the time is right,” Glover said. “It’s time for us to honor one of our greatest ever, and hopefully this will help heal some wounds in the process.”



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Golfer Keeps Playing After Losing Sight]]> Thu, 17 Jul 2014 19:02:55 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/WRC_0000000007209309_1200x675_307182147736.jpg Bruce Hooper didn't let losing his sight stop him from playing his favorite sport -- and winning. Jason Pugh reports.]]> <![CDATA[McEnroe's Son Arrested for Drugs]]> Thu, 17 Jul 2014 13:11:55 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/kevin+mcenroe.jpg

Kevin McEnroe, the 27-year-old son of tennis champion John McEnroe and actress Tatum O'Neal, was arrested in New York City after he was allegedly caught with dozens of oxycodone and morphine pills, authorities say.

McEnroe was arrested late Tuesday after an alleged drug exchange with another suspect on East Fourth Street between First Avenue and Avenue A in the East Village, the district attorney's office said.

Police found 20 oxycodone pills and 10 morphine pills in an inner pocket in his jacket, according to the criminal complaint. 

McEnroe was arraigned on two counts of criminal possession of a controlled substance Tuesday and released on $5,000 bail. He's next scheduled to appear in court on Oct. 16. 

His attorney declined to comment.



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[RGIII Addresses NFL Health Concerns]]> Wed, 16 Jul 2014 18:33:31 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/225*120/490959031.jpg.jpg

With the Redskins about to reconvene for training camp next week in Richmond, it is about that time when everything Robert Griffin III says must be dissected and aggregated in blog posts. 

The latest nugget comes via The Hollywood Reporter, which interviewed the quarterback for its "Sports Issue."

Within, RGIII says that fellow NFL players are "concerned" for what Thursday games could mean for their health. CBS will air eight games on Thursday evenings this season. Meanwhile, the NFL has been served with concussion-related lawsuits from former players.

"There are a lot of players out there who feel like there are not enough days in the week for us to be playing on Thursdays," Griffin said. "It's something the NFL is going to have to address to make sure they're keeping their players safe while also trying to maximize their revenue."

Alas, Griffin did not comment on his team's polarizing moniker, which leaves me with space to fill. So here's a video.


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Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>