Chicago Bears

Raiders player to spend 180 days in prison

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Raiders player to spend 180 days in prison

From Comcast SportsNet
DECATUR, Ala. (AP) -- Oakland Raiders linebacker Rolando McClain has been sentenced to 180 days in jail for assault and other charges stemming from a fight in his hometown when he allegedly threatened to kill a man and fired a gun next to his head. Decatur Municipal Judge Bill Cook convicted the 22-year-old former Alabama star Thursday of third-degree assault, menacing, reckless endangerment and discharging a firearm in the city limits. He fined McClain 2,000. McClain, 6-foot-3 and 255 pounds, and Jarodiaus Willingham were charged with assaulting Rishard Tapscott, who was a friend of the two, on Nov. 30, 2011. Tapscott testified that the Raiders linebacker pointed a gun at his head and threatened to kill him before firing it beside his ear. McClain's attorney, Harvey Steinberg, said he will appeal to Morgan County Circuit Court seeking a jury trial. "I wanted to put this on so we could show how ridiculous this entire situation is," Steinberg said after the conviction. "It truly is. There's no basis for it. Our feeling was that we should go through it so we could put out there that Rolando did very little, if anything, wrong. He certainly didn't do anything criminal." McClain was released on the bail he paid following his arrest. He did not respond to reporters' questions before driving away in a white pickup truck. "I hate that this took place but I'm glad about him being found guilty because it shows that I wasn't lying," Tapscott said following the five-hour trial. Willingham, 23 of Decatur, pleaded guilty to third-degree assault in the case Thursday morning. He received a 90-day jail sentence. NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said the league will review McClain's case to determine if further punishment is warranted. The Raiders said in a statement that they would continue to monitor the situation. McClain, the eighth overall pick in the 2010 draft, signed a 40 million, five-year contract that included 23 million in guarantees with the Raiders before his rookie season. He had 99 tackles and five sacks in 15 games last season. Tapscott has also filed a civil suit against McClain. The judge declined to allow City Prosecuter Emily Baggett to introduce a videotape from the incident. Decatur attorney Carl Cole, who is representing Tapscott in the suit, provided the video to the prosecution.

Bears: Where does Kyle Fuller fit with Prince Amukamara back?

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Bears: Where does Kyle Fuller fit with Prince Amukamara back?

Prince Amukamara (ankle) is expected to make his 2017 regular season debut against the Pittsburgh Steelers after being a full participant in practices Thursday and Friday (he wasn't listed on Friday's injury report). But that leads to the question: What does defensive coordinator Vic Fangio do with Kyle Fuller?

Fuller acquitted himself well in starts against the Atlanta Falcons — in which he helped limit Julio Jones to four catches on five targets — and Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Bears signed Amukamara to start opposite Marcus Cooper, but Fuller has at least earned the opportunity to keep his job — or a job — on Sunday. 

And it's worth noting that both Fuller and Amukamara are in contract years, so both should be motivated to not lose playing time going forward. 

“I was pleased with the waay Kyle played overall,” Fangio said. “There's obviously some plays he'd like to do over and play them a little better, but overall I thought he did a good job. I like where he's at right now.”

Fangio didn’t play Fuller as a nickel corner in 2015. But if the Bears want to get their best defensive players on the field could Fuller force his way into a nickel role with Amukamara and Cooper as the outside guys? 

That’s an especially pertinent question given Pittsburgh’s explosive trio of receivers: Antonio Brown, Martavis Bryant and JuJu Smith-Schuster. 

“No matter where a receiver lines up, it’s not going to be a down to take off,” Amukamara said. “We’re always going to have to have our ‘A’ game.”

Avisail Garcia's 'big head' isn't getting in the way of defensive improvements

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USA TODAY

Avisail Garcia's 'big head' isn't getting in the way of defensive improvements

Avisail Garcia's "big head" almost cost the White Sox on Friday night. At least, that's Reynaldo Lopez's humorous theory. 

With the game on the line and the Royals' tying run dashing for the plate, Garcia slipped a bit before making a clutch recovery to nail Whit Merrifield. The craziness continued after the tag as Narvaez caught Lorenzo Cain drifting off first base to seal a win. 

"I was watching the game on the TV here," Lopez said, "and then when I saw the hit from Cain, and I saw that Avi fell down because he has a big head, I was concerned but at the same time I saw that his throw, he has a good arm and he made a very good throw." 

Just your average 9-2-4-6 double play to end a game on the South Side, right? 

"Obviously, when he slipped we took a little gasp," Renteria said. "But we were talking about his body control to be able to maintain himself enough to get up and make the throw that he did. Unbelievable. It's pretty exciting finish to a ballgame that kind of got a little ugly early on."

Ugly is an apt way to describe the first few innings. Tim Anderson and Yoan Moncada both made errors in the Royals' six-run third inning, and Lopez capped it off with a wild pitch that allowed Eric Hosmer to score. But it went from an eyesore loss to an overzealous "we could make noise in 2019" rebuild win from there, and Garcia's defense -- of all things -- played a significant role. 

Garcia's outfield assist in the ninth was his second of the game. The first, an absolute strike to cut down Alex Gordon in the sixth, didn't involve a slip, though. 

And while much has been made of Garcia's breakout year with the bat, he believes his defense is hugely improved, too. 

"I think 100 percent," he said. "I just try to get better every day with hitting and defense. That’s baseball so get better in everything."

He has 12 outfield assists on the season, up from five a year ago. And despite his overall fielding percentage being down, his strong arm may give him a stronger defensive reputation. 

"Since last year, he's always had an excellent arm," Renteria said. "I think his accuracy is something to be pointed out too because as off balance as he was, he's made some throws to the plate that have been really spot on."

Renteria attributes Garcia's accuracy to the outfielder putting in extra time with Daryl Boston. 

"(Boston) has those guys throwing, and none of you guys are out there watching them work, but they'll throw quite a bit to the bases, especially second base," Renteria said. "They'll get deep and they'll work on doing that, so that's just a part of their routine."

The evolution of Avi carries on.