AP rankings: Unanimous pick Aaron Donald is NFL's top DT

Published: Friday, November 10, 2017 @ 12:07 PM
Updated: Friday, November 10, 2017 @ 12:06 PM

            FILE - In this Oct. 15, 2017, file photo, Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles (5) loses the ball as he is sacked by Los Angeles Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald (99) during the second half of an NFL football game, in Jacksonville, Fla. Aaron Donald of the Los Angeles Rams is the unanimous choice by an Associated Press panel as the best defensive tackle in the NFL. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack, File)
FILE - In this Oct. 15, 2017, file photo, Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles (5) loses the ball as he is sacked by Los Angeles Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald (99) during the second half of an NFL football game, in Jacksonville, Fla. Aaron Donald of the Los Angeles Rams is the unanimous choice by an Associated Press panel as the best defensive tackle in the NFL. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack, File)

Aaron Donald held out all spring and summer from Los Angeles Rams activities, finally reporting for duty right before the regular season began without the new contract he'd been seeking.

His pursuit of the ball has been far more fruitful.

Midway through his fourth year in the NFL, Donald has established himself as the premier defensive tackle in the game. Though comparing different positions is a difficult assessment, Donald might be the best defensive player in the league. His dominance in the interior of the line is a significant reason why the Rams (6-2) were the first-half surprise success of the season.

"Hall of Famers aren't made three years in," Rams general manager Les Snead said during training camp. "But if there's a race to the gold jacket, he's started strong."

His consistent disruption and production since being drafted in the first round out of Pittsburgh earned him a unanimous first place finish for NFL defensive tackles from an Associated Press panel in voting revealed Friday. Donald is the only unanimous winner of the 10 positions ranked thus far by the 11-person AP panel in the weekly installments published this season.

The two-time All-Pro pick has 32 sacks in 55 career games. He's a force against the run, too. Fierce and fast at 6-foot-1 and 285 pounds, Donald is quite the bargain for the Rams this year with a rookie-contract salary cap hit of a little more than $3.2 million. The below-market price won't last much longer, though.

"He seems to have answered questions pretty quickly of how he would adapt to a 3-4 scheme under defensive coordinator Wade Phillips," said the AP's Schuyler Dixon, who is based in Dallas.

Donald was one of six defensive tackles listed on every ballot. The other five were Miami's Ndamukong Suh, who finished second; Philadelphia's Fletcher Cox, who was third; Cincinnati's Geno Atkins, who came in fourth; fifth-place finisher Damon Harrison of the New York Giants; and Carolina's Kawann Short, who was eighth.

Minnesota's Linval Joseph took sixth, Tampa Bay's Gerald McCoy came in seventh, San Francisco's DeForest Buckner was ninth and Jacksonville's Malik Jackson finished 10th to round out the results.

The Dolphins made Suh the league's highest-paid defensive player in 2015, and he has remained the threat in the middle he was in Detroit. The knock against his game has stuck with him, too — the propensity for penalties and needless personal fouls.

"If he could just harness his emotions," said the AP's Arnie Stapleton, who's based in Denver.

While quarterback Carson Wentz and the Eagles offense has stolen the spotlight, Cox has been a significant factor in the team's NFL-best 8-1 start. Despite missing two games to injury, he has 4½ sacks, two fumble recoveries, one forced fumble and one touchdown.

"Don't forget this important part of a defense that's doing its part," Dixon said.

With 57 career sacks for the Bengals, Atkins leads all active interior linemen.

"When healthy, Atkins is as good as any defensive tackle in football. But like many of the top defensive tackles in the NFL, the folks around him don't measure up," said the AP's Barry Wilner, who's based in New York.

There's hardly a better story of overcoming the odds in the NFL than Harrison. He hooked on with the Jets as an undrafted rookie in 2012 out of a small NAIA school in Iowa, William Penn, after barely playing in high school and being cut from the team in middle school while growing up poor near New Orleans. Now with the Giants with a big-money contract to boot, the man nicknamed "Big Snacks" has been eating up offensive linemen for years.

"No one is better as a run stuffer," said the AP's Josh Dubow, who's based in the Bay Area.


EDITOR'S NOTE - The Associated Press is ranking the top 10 players at a different position every week of the NFL season, based on votes by Pro Football Hall of Fame member James Lofton and AP football writers Simmi Buttar, Dave Campbell, Schuyler Dixon, Josh Dubow, Howard Fendrich, Rob Maaddi, Arnie Stapleton, Teresa M. Walker, Dennis Waszak Jr. and Barry Wilner. This feature will move on Fridays.


For more NFL coverage: http://www.pro32.ap.org and http://www.pro32.ap.org

Driver accused of OVI in Mad River Twp. crash that snaps power pole

Published: Monday, November 20, 2017 @ 11:08 PM

A 59-year-old Fairborn man has been cited into court on suspicion of OVI after he snapped a power pole before slamming into a tree in the 4200 block of Dayton Springfield Road in Mad River Twp.

Trooper Haley Shreck, Ohio Highway Patrol Springfield Post, said the man was taken to Springfield Regional Medical Center from the accident that occurred just after 6:30 p.m. Monday. 

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The man said he wasn't hurt, Trooper Shreck said, and troopers suspect the drug involved was heroin. Troopers wrote him up on a charge of failure to control as well as OVI. 

According to the preliminary investigation, the man was headed east on Dayton Springfield Road when he drove off the left side of the road, snapped the power pole, continued over a driveway on the left side off the road until striking a tree in the front yard of a home, Shreck said. 

OTHER LOCAL NEWS: 2 injured in head-on crash on St. Paris Pike

The man was alone in a Mercury sedan and no one else was injured in the accident, which occurred between Sundance and Ashbrook drives, the trooper said. 

According to the Ohio Edison online outage page, fewer than five people reported losing power. Company officials estimate that service will be restored sometime late tonight into early Tuesday morning, according to the website.

Got a tip? Call our monitored 24-hour line, 937-259-2237, or send it to newsdesk@cmgohio.com

Little American flags dot Miamisburg yard where Navy vet’s big flag was stolen

Published: Monday, November 20, 2017 @ 10:05 PM

An anonymous donor has planted four small American flags in the yard of a Navy veteran living in Miamisburg who had his large flag and pole stolen a week ago.

There has been no update about the theft of the 5-foot-by-7-foot flag and pole that stood in David Schechter's yard for more than a year. 

RELATED: Navy vet from Miamisburg wants stolen American flag back

But a person wishing to remain anonymous decided to install the four flags in a show of support for Schechter. This past weekend, he took to social media to thank the "the unknown lady in the red van" and everyone else who has shown him support. 

Schechter and his girlfriend checked the recording from a neighbor's surveillance camera, but were not able to get anything off of it. His girlfriend filed a theft report with Miamisburg police last week. 

Got a tip? Call our monitored 24-hour line, 937-259-2237, or send it to newsdesk@cmgohio.com

2 arrested after crash ends high-speed bid to elude Butler Twp. police

Published: Monday, November 20, 2017 @ 7:23 PM
Updated: Monday, November 20, 2017 @ 8:51 PM

Police chase

UPDATE @ 8:15 p.m.: A male and female, both 26, will likely face several felony charges for damaging two police cruisers while trying to elude capture for being suspected of shoplifting from a Walmart Superstore, Butler Twp. Police Chief John Porter said. 

Porter said the irony is that had they cooperated after being accused of taking "less than $100 worth of miscellaneous items," they probably would have been given summonses to appear in court. Now, the potential stakes are much higher because they triggered a police pursuit that endangered lives, he said. 

"They escalated into a very, very potentially dangerous situation in a short amount of time," Chief Porter said. The entire incident -- from fleeing the store lot to the crash -- lasted about two minutes, he said. 

How the Incident Began 

Porter said the pursuit began in the parking lot of the Walmart Superstore at North Dixie Drive and York Commons Boulevard, when the man jumped behind the wheel of a blue car and sped off through the parking lot just after 5:15 p.m. 

Butler Twp. police were approaching the car because they had been called to the store on a theft-in-progress call, the chief said. 

The driver sideswiped the first police cruiser while trying to get out of the parking lot, then backed into a second cruiser after crashing into a Dumpster behind a Hooter's restaurant on Miller Lane. He fled onto York Commons, then onto Benchwood Road as police pursued the car onto Autumn Ridge Drive. 

The male and female were taken to Grandview Medical Center after suffering non-life threatening injuries when they crashed in a wooded area behind a home on Autumn Ridge Drive, which brought the pursuit to an end. 

The officers were not injured, Power said, and the cruisers will have to be repaired. 

A couple returning to Canada suffered minor injuries when their vehicle was rear-ended in the area of Miller Lane during the incident, Porter said. Police interviewed them, had them checked out medically and released them. 

About the Suspects 

Porter said police believe the male was under the influence of drugs because of his behavior in speeding away from the Walmart. 

It's too early to say whether the drugs were opioids, the chief said, but police also found drug paraphernalia on the female. Police found no weapons, he said. 

Porter said criminal charges could include anything from robbery to felony fleeing and eluding. 

Police Pursuit Policy 

Porter said the incident fit the police department's pursuit policy because the male purposefully hit two police cruisers.


Butler Twp. police are preparing to issue a statement this evening detailing a vehicle crash late Monday afternoon that involved at least one police cruiser and a suspect who was trying to elude arrest. 

We're hearing that one person is in custody stemming from a report of a theft from the Walmart Supercenter at North Dixie Drive and York Commons Boulevard. 

OTHER LOCAL NEWS: I-75 wrong-way driver has previous traffic cases

The driver of the car that sped off from the store and collided with a vehicle -- believed to have been a police cruiser -- on Miller Lane, then west on Benchwood Road before ending up at the Autumn Ridge apartments. 

All of this was occurring about 5:15 p.m. The Ohio Highway Patrol was called to investigate the accident involving the police cruiser. 

We will update this developing report at the conclusion of a news conference this evening. 

Stay with whio.com for breaking news. 

Got a tip? Call our monitored 24-hour line, 937-259-2237, or send it to newsdesk@cmgohio.com

U.S. Marshals Office warns of scam callers asking for fines 

Published: Monday, November 20, 2017 @ 7:55 PM

Miami Valley residents receiving scam phone calls from individuals claiming to be U.S. marshals, court officers, or other law enforcement are encouraged to contact the U.S. Marshals Service Office and the Federal Trade Commission.

According to a release from the U.S. Marshals Service Office, scammers attempt to coerce people into paying a fine in lieu of arrest for failing to report for jury duty or other offenses. 

"The U.S. Marshals would never ask for a credit/debit or gift card number or banking routing numbers or ask for funds to be wired for any purpose," said United States Marshal Pete Tobin. 

>> U.S. Marshals Service warns of phone scam circulating in Dayton area

"If the caller is urging you to provide this type of information or any other personal or financial information, hang up and report the call to the Marshals and the FTC. You can even report to both agencies anonymously,” Tobin said. 

Tobin said scammers will try to appear legitimate by providing badge numbers or using the names of actual law enforcement officials. He urges the public to question the validity of any caller requesting payment. 

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"The easiest way to do this is to call the clerk of the court's office of the U.S. District Court in your area and verify the court order. If an order does not exist, someone just tried to swindle you out of your hard-earned cash." 

If you believe you were a victim of such a scam, you are encouraged to report the incident to the U.S. Marshals office and to the FTC at https://www.ftc.gov/

GOT A TIP? Call our monitored 24-hour line, 937-259-2237, or send it to newsdesk@cmgohio.com