The latest on the TCU drug arrests


The latest on the TCU drug arrests

From Comcast SportsNet
FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) -- Authorities arrested 17 students at Texas Christian University on Wednesday as part of a six-month drug sting, an especially embarrassing blow to the school because it included four members of the high-profile football team. Arrest warrants painted a startling picture of the Horned Frogs, with a handful of players who allegedly arranged marijuana sales after class or around practice and who told police that most of the team had failed a surprise drug test just two weeks ago. According to police, players sold undercover officers marijuana during the season and as recently as last week. "There are days people want to be a head football coach, but today is not one of those days," coach Gary Patterson said in a prepared statement. "As I heard the news this morning, I was first shocked, then hurt and now I'm mad." The 17 people arrested were caught making "hand-to-hand" sales of marijuana, cocaine, ecstasy and prescription drugs to undercover officers, police said. They said the bust followed an investigation prompted by complaints from students, parents and others. TCU has an enrollment of about 9,500 students, but the athlete arrests drew the most scrutiny. The bust came just one day after a thrilling overtime victory by the men's basketball team over a ranked opponent and less than 24 hours after TCU released its football schedule for next season, its first in the Big 12 Conference. Three prominent defensive players on the team were arrested: linebacker Tanner Brock, the leading tackler two seasons ago, defensive tackle D.J. Yendrey and cornerback Devin Johnson. The other player is offensive lineman Ty Horn. While school Chancellor Victor Boschini said he didn't think TCU had a "football problem," the arrest affidavits raise the possibility that other players were involved. In November, a Fort Worth police officer was informed that Horn was selling marijuana to "college students and football players at Texas Christian." The officer allegedly bought marijuana that day, Nov. 3, two days before a road game at Wyoming, from both Horn and Yendrey. Officers during the next several months allegedly set up drug deals with the players outside restaurants, a grocery store and other areas around campus. On Jan. 19, Brock allegedly sold an officer 200 worth of marijuana after Yendrey ran out. "After a short conversation about the marijuana, Brock and I exchanged phone numbers, telling me to come to him from now on instead of (Yendrey)," according to the affidavits. Horn and Johnson scoffed at the Feb. 1 team drug test ordered by Patterson, police said. Brock allegedly told an undercover officer that he failed the surprise test "for sure," but that it wouldn't be a problem because there "would be about 60 people screwed." Horn had looked through the football roster and "said there were only 20 people that would pass the test on the team," Brock said, according to the warrant. And six days after the test, Johnson allegedly sold an officer 300 worth of marijuana. Asked about the test, he said: "What can they do, 82 people failed it." In response to that allegation, TCU cornerback Kolby Griffin posted a tweet on his personal account Wednesday that read, "This rumor about 82 of us failing a drug test is false completely false." TCU released a statement late Wednesday afternoon that said the school tests its athletes for drug use "on a regular basis." "The comments about failed drug tests made by the separated players in affidavits cannot be verified simply because they were made in the context of a drug buy," the school said. Patterson declined to answer questions beyond his prepared statement. Phone messages left at the homes of Horn, Johnson and Yendrey were not immediately returned. Brock did not have a listed home number. All of the players are 21 except for Yendrey, who is 20. Brock was being held on 10,000 bond at the Mansfield city jail. Johnson and Horn were being transferred to the jail on Wednesday afternoon and Yendrey had not been arraigned. Police said they had yet to determine if other football players were involved or would be charged. Officials said the students had been "separated from TCU" and criminally barred from campus, but it wasn't clear if the players had been kicked off the team. But their names had already been removed from the football roster posted on the school's athletic website. "I expect our student-athletes to serve as ambassadors for the university and will not tolerate behavior that reflects poorly on TCU, the athletics department, our teams or other student-athletes within the department," athletic director Chris Del Conte said. "Our student-athletes are a microcosm of society and unfortunately that means some of our players reflect a culture that glorifies drugs and drug use. That mindset is not reflected by TCU nor will it be allowed within athletics." Brock was the leading tackler for TCU as a sophomore during the 2010 season, when the Horned Frogs went 13-0, won the Rose Bowl and finished the year ranked No. 2. Brock started the season opener at Baylor last September, but aggravated a foot injury that required season-ending surgery. Yendrey started 12 of 13 games this past season, when he had 39 tackles and three sacks. Johnson played in all 13 games, starting the last eight, and had 47 tackles with 2 12 sacks. Brock likely would have been a starter again in 2012. Yendrey, who also started five guys as a junior, and Johnson both were juniors last season and had another season of eligibility. Horn appeared in 10 games this past season, making one start. He played in eight games as a freshman. "Under my watch, drugs and drug use by TCU's student-athletes will not be tolerated by me or any member of my coaching staff," Patterson said. "I believe strongly that young people's lives are more important than wins or losses. He added: "At the end of the day, though, sometimes young people make poor choices. The Horned Frogs are bigger and stronger than those involved." Boschini, the chancellor, called the charges against all the students "simply unacceptable." Fraternity members were among those arrested, though Boschini said he didn't think any whole fraternity houses were at fault. "Today's events have changed the life of everybody at TCU," Boschini said.

How game-changing Kyle Hendricks deal came together for Cubs team on brink of World Series

How game-changing Kyle Hendricks deal came together for Cubs team on brink of World Series

Kyle Hendricks will have that same blank look on his face as 40,000 fans stand on their feet at Wrigley Field and the sea of people forms around Clark and Addison, waiting to explode in celebration when the Cubs win their first National League pennant in 71 years.

Hendricks is exhaustive in his preparation, creative with his variety of pitches and unpredictable sequencing and not at all intimidated by the idea of going up against Clayton Kershaw and the Los Angeles Dodgers on Saturday night in Game 6 of this best-of-seven NL Championship Series. Even Kershaw – a three-time Cy Young Award winner – recognizes Hendricks as “the Greg Maddux of this generation.”

Hendricks will stand on the mound as a billboard for The Cubs Way, a mixture of the patience, natural talent, Ivy League intelligence and guts needed to reimagine this franchise and get to the brink of the World Series. It also took some luck, the kind of random bounce or happy accident you don’t automatically associate with the Cubbies.

What if the initial Ryan Dempster deal with the Atlanta Braves didn’t fall through and the Cubs wound up with an underwhelming reliever like Randall Delgado? What if the Dodgers – the team Dempster desperately wanted to join so he could play with Ted Lilly again – changed their minds at the last minute? 

“It was bizarre,” general manager Jed Hoyer admitted. “I’ve never been a part of something like that.”

Just think about how much Wrigleyville has changed since July 31, 2012. The Cubs were in the middle of a 101-loss season that would be rewarded with the No. 2 overall pick in the next year’s draft, which became potential MVP Kris Bryant, a tanking strategy that helped create a 103-win team.

As the clock ticked down toward the trade deadline, Dempster hung out inside the team’s offices, playing Golden Tee in the lounge, kicking his feet up on a staffer’s desk and watching the coverage on MLB Network.

“He was quite comfortable,” Hoyer said. “Listen, (players with) full no-trades or 10/5 rights – they have power. And I think Ryan is very thoughtful and had very specific desires and the Dodgers are obviously a destination. But I think he understood by the end that we had an obligation to the Cubs to make the best trade we could. And we couldn’t make a trade we liked with the Dodgers.”

The pitching infrastructure that would eventually help Hendricks win 16 games and an ERA title this season first built up value for Dempster, who posted a 2.25 ERA in his first 16 starts in 2012, the final year of his contract. The Cubs had been focused on a group that included three pitching prospects – Allen Webster, Zach Lee and Chris Reed – who are no longer in the Los Angeles organization.

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“Listen, nobody knew how it would turn out,” Dempster said. “That’s the truth. No matter what trade you make with anybody, you don’t know how the trade’s going to turn out.”

President of baseball operations Theo Epstein understood all the risks and all the rewards, flipping one short-term asset after another and trying to collect as many potential building blocks as possible. During the Jeff Samardzija negotiations, the Cubs asked for Corey Seager so many times that it became a running joke with the Dodgers. The Cubs found another future All-Star shortstop in Addison Russell when they shipped Samardzija to the Oakland A’s in a blockbuster Fourth of July deal in 2014.

Dempster had been so fixated on the Dodgers that Cubs management finally told him: Fine, you don’t believe us? Talk to Ned Colletti yourself. Dempster spoke directly with Colletti, the Dodgers GM at the time and a former Cubs PR guy.

“I was like: ‘Wow, this really isn’t going to happen,’” Dempster remembered. “‘OK, so where do we go from here?’”

Like Rick Renteria, Colletti ultimately became part of the collateral damage when Andrew Friedman left the Tampa Bay Rays for a president’s job with the Dodgers in October 2014. That triggered the escape clause in Joe Maddon’s contract, allowing the star manager to score a five-year, $25 million contract in Chicago, while Colletti got bumped into an advisory role in Los Angeles.

“We got some criticism for this, but (Dempster) couldn’t actually hear the (other) conversations,” Hoyer said. “It wasn’t like he was forcing the negotiations. He was just there (in the office), so that way we could ask him any questions that we would have, like: ‘Will you do this? Will you do that?’ It wasn’t like we were having him on speaker.”

The Cubs also had a source with connections to the Texas Rangers who recommended a Class-A pitcher with a fluid delivery, pinpoint control and that Dartmouth College education.

“Theo would pop his head in,” Dempster recalled. “He would be like: ‘St. Louis?’ And I’d say: ‘No.’

“‘Yankees?’ ‘Do I have to shave my beard?’ ‘Yeah.’ ‘Then, no.’ We were going back and forth. And then (Theo said): ‘Hey, we like this package from Texas. It gives us a couple good players.’

“I was like: ‘All right, let’s do it.’”

Whatever tension may have existed in the moment, Dempster earned his World Series ring with the 2013 Boston Red Sox, signed on with MLB Network and rejoined the organization as a special assistant in December 2014, or right around the time the Cubs pushed to close Jon Lester’s $155 million megadeal.

“I love the Cubs,” Dempster said. “To see one of the guys that you got traded for contributing so much to a place that you care so much about, man, every fifth day, I don’t miss (it). I don’t miss when he’s pitching. I don’t miss an inning.

“I’m locked in, because I totally enjoy it. I think it’s awesome to leave somewhere that you care so much about – and the guy that comes back as a piece is much better than you (and) has been such an integral part.”

The Cubs are up 3-2 in the NLCS again, which means the national media will bring up Bartman, etc. But the Cubs will give the ball to a pitcher with poise, the ability to think on his feet and way more stuff than he’s given credit for, even if he’s not Kershaw.       

“This is still the same game,” Hendricks said. “You go out there and you’re making the same pitches. It’s the same lineup, same hitters. There’s just more going on outside. So all the attention – the added pressure coming from the outside – you don’t pay attention to it.

“It has nothing to do with the job that you have to do when you go out there.”

Willson Contreras channeling emotions to provide postseason spark for Cubs

Willson Contreras channeling emotions to provide postseason spark for Cubs

The moment is not too big for Willson Contreras.

That much can be concluded from his first season in the big leagues.

After homering on the first MLB pitch he ever saw, Contreras is still living up to the hype four months later.

Contreras leads all Cubs hitters in postseason batting average, going 7-for-17 (.412 AVG) with three RBI.

The Cubs have made it a point to get Contreras in every single playoff game as either a defensive replacement or pinch-hitter and he's hit safely in six of the seven contests in which he's earned a plate appearance.

"I'm feeling great," he said. "Like I always say, I don't try to do too much. I don't try to hit a homer. I just make my plan before I come up to bat and just execute it.

"If you think about the postseason, you're gonna put pressure on yourself. You just take it day-by-day like it's a normal game."

Contreras has shown his spunk all season long, wearing his emotions on his sleeves.

The same was true in the Cubs' win in Game 5 of the National League Championship Series Thursday night.

After singling in the eighth inning, he raised his fist in triumph. 

"I'm a really emotional player," Contreras said. "I was excited to hit. He was throwing 99 mph and it's not easy to him. That was just my reaction."

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That emotional style has been on display all postseason.

The Cubs had an 8-1 cushion by the time he came into Game 5 to catch, yet he made sure to let home plate umpire Alfonso Marquez know he didn't like the strike zone. Even with a big lead, he still felt the need to protect his pitchers.

He got one of the Cubs' biggest hits of the playoffs with a two-run single during that epic NLDS-clinching comeback in San Francisco.

In Game 4 in Los Angeles Wednesday night, Contreras was called for his second catcher's interference of the postseason, but also picked Justin Turner off second base to get the Cubs out of the first inning. In that same game, he delivered the RBI hit that busted the Cubs out of a 21-inning scoreless streak when he plated Ben Zobrist in the fourth inning.

In Game 2 against Clayton Kershaw, Contreras stepped to the plate and as the all-world left-hander delivered each of the first two pitches, Contreras put the bat on his shoulder and didn't even bother to get into a hitter's position.

Contreras wound up striking out in the at-bat, but he also sent a message that he would not be intimidated by the three-time Cy Young winner and was one of only two Cubs to collect a hit off Kershaw in that game.

Contreras reacted similarly during the regular season, including during his first week in the big leagues when he faced Marlins ace Jose Fernandez.

"That was part of my plan," Contreras said. "That was something I had in mind. I just wanted to see how he pitched."

Now Contreras will get to see Kershaw again Saturday night at Wrigley Field as the Cubs sit one win away from the World Series.

"I'm more comfortable at home plate [against him now]," Contreras said. "I know when to start my timing and stuff."