One of the NFL's best runners charged with DUI

820753.jpg

One of the NFL's best runners charged with DUI

From Comcast SportsNet
Seattle Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch was charged Wednesday with driving under the influence in Northern California. Lynch was charged by the Alameda County district attorney with driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol and driving while having a blood-alcohol level of .08 or higher. Lynch has a court date on Aug. 14, which is in the middle of Seahawks training camp. But Lynch's attorney, Ivan Golde, told The Associated Press that he feels the case could get thrown out or reduced because of discrepancies in blood-alcohol tests. Golde's contention is that Lynch was not at the California legal limit of .08 when he was pulled over in Emeryville, Calif., on Saturday and tested at the scene. Golde noted that Lynch's level was higher when he was tested on a calibrated breathalyzer later at the jail. "We think we have a really strong case," Golde said. Teresa Drenick, director of communications for the Alameda County district attorney, could not confirm Golde's claim about Lynch's blood-alcohol content and said she could not discuss the details of the case. Lynch was seen weaving on Interstate 880 in the Oakland, Calif., area on Saturday morning, leading to his arrest for investigation of DUI. An incident report released by the California Highway Patrol described Lynch driving a Ford Econoline van and having two near collisions with two other vehicles driving in adjacent lanes. This is Lynch's first off-field problem since coming over to Seattle from Buffalo during the 2010 season. Lynch's career stalled with the Bills and was highlighted by two off-field brushes with the law, one of which resulted in a three-game suspension. He pleaded guilty in March 2009 to a misdemeanor gun charge in Los Angeles. He was sentenced to 80 hours of community service and three years' probation, and was suspended three games by the league for violating the NFL personal conduct policy. That was Lynch's second run-in with the law with the Bills. He was also involved in a hit-and-run accident in Buffalo in May 2008. In the earlier incident, he pleaded guilty to a traffic violation and admitted to driving away after striking a woman with his car near Buffalo's downtown bar district. The league is aware of Lynch's latest legal trouble, but it's unclear whether his past transgressions could get lumped together with his current DUI arrest and lead to yet another suspension. Lynch signed a four-year contract in March that will keep him in a Seattle uniform for the prime of his NFL career. The contract is worth 31 million, including a guaranteed 18 million. Lynch rushed for 1,204 yards and 12 touchdowns last season.

Morning Update: Bulls fall to Blazers; Could Chris Sale be on the move?

chris_sale_d-wade.jpg
USA TODAY

Morning Update: Bulls fall to Blazers; Could Chris Sale be on the move?

Five Things to Watch: Bulls in Detroit for fourth game in five nights on CSN

Five Things to Watch: Blackhawks host Coyotes tonight on CSN+

Despite Chris Sale rumors, White Sox say they have contingencies in place for a rebuild

Kenley Jansen? Wade Davis? Cubs keeping an open mind for the ninth inning

Slow start to fourth dooms Bulls in loss to Blazers

Back from scary concussion, Leonard Floyd playing like franchise pass rusher Bears craved

Scott Darling takes the reins for Blackhawks in Corey Crawford’s absence

White Sox chairman Jerry Reinsdorf knows 'it will be very hard to trade' Chris Sale

Cubs: The next steps for Kyle Schwarber

Rajon Rondo used foul language with Bulls assistant coaches following loss to Mavs

Bears DL Akiem Hicks making the most of a chance the Saints never gave him

Bears DL Akiem Hicks making the most of a chance the Saints never gave him

Living well is indeed the best revenge, and sometimes nothing feels sweeter than proving doubters wrong. Akiem Hicks is savoring that exact feeling.

When the New Orleans Saints made Hicks their third-round pick in the 2013 draft, they typecast their big (6-5, 318 pounds) young defensive lineman as a one-trick pony.

“There were people in New Orleans that said, ‘You can’t rush the passer,’” Hicks recalled after the Bears’ win Sunday over the San Francisco 49ers. “They told me from my rookie year, ‘You’re going to be a run-stopper.’”

This despite Hicks collecting 6.5 sacks and 3 pass breakups as a senior at Regina in Canada. The Saints forced Hicks into the slot they’d decided he fit – nose tackle – then eventually grew disenchanted with him and traded him to New England last year – where he collect 3 sacks in spot duty.

Interestingly, Bears GM Ryan Pace was part of the Saints’ personnel operation. Whether Pace agreed with coaches’ handling of Hicks then isn’t known, but when Pace had the chance to bring Hicks to Chicago for a role different than the one the Saints forced Hicks into, Pace made it happen.

Pace likely saw those New England sacks as a foreshadowing or a sign that the New Orleans staff had miscast Hicks. The Bears defensive end now is under consideration for NFC defensive player of the week after his 10-tackle performance against San Francisco. Signing with the Bears last March 13 as a free agent was the career break Hicks has craved. For him it was a career lifeline.

“They have given me the ability to go rush the passer,” Hicks said. “So I love this organization – [GM] Ryan Pace, coach Fox, Vic [Fangio, defensive coordinator] – for just giving a guy the capability to put it out there and do what you feel like you can do.”

[MORE BEARS: Back from scary concussion, Leonard Floyd playing like franchise pass rusher Bears craved]

Hicks has been showing what he can do, to quarterbacks. For him the best part of win over the 49ers was the two third-quarter sacks of 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick.

Those sacks gave the massive lineman, who the Saints said couldn’t rush the passer, 6 sacks for the season – more than any member of the Saints defense this season. It has been a classic instance of putting a player in position to maximize his skills, not jam someone into a bad fit.

“Akiem has been in a couple of different types of packages before with New Orleans and New England,” said coach John Fox. The Patriots switched from a long-time 3-4 scheme to a 4-3 but “we’re more of a New England-type style. But we’re playing him more at end; he played mostly a nose tackle [in New Orleans]. He’s fit really well for us as far as his physical stature.

"But he does have pass rush ability. It shows a little about his athleticism. So he’s got a combination of both.”

That “combination” has been allowed to flourish at a new level, and the Bears’ plan for Hicks was the foundation of why he wanted to sign in Chicago as a free agent. The Bears do not play their defensive linemen in a clear one-gap, get-upfield-fast scheme tailored to speed players. Nor do they play a classic two-gap, linemen-control-blockers scheme typically built on three massive space-eaters on the defensive line.

They play what one player has called a “gap and a half” system, which requires being stout as well as nimble.

One Hicks rush on Kaepernick featured a deft spin move out of a block, not the norm for 336-pound linemen. He got one sack with a quick slide out of a double-team.

“I’m not freelancing,” Hicks said. “But I’m rushing ‘fast.’ There’s a portion of the defense where you have the [run] responsibility and don’t have the freedom or liberty [to rush]. It’s a great system for me and I love what they’ve let me do.”