Day 3 NFL Draft tracker for Cleveland Browns

Published: Saturday, April 29, 2017 @ 11:17 AM
Updated: Saturday, April 29, 2017 @ 11:29 PM

            Cleveland Browns first round NFL draft choices, from left, Myles Garrett, Jabrill Peppers, center, and David Njoku answer questions during a news conference at the NFL team’s training facility, Friday, April 28, 2017, in Berea, Ohio. (AP Photo/Ron Schwane)
Cleveland Browns first round NFL draft choices, from left, Myles Garrett, Jabrill Peppers, center, and David Njoku answer questions during a news conference at the NFL team’s training facility, Friday, April 28, 2017, in Berea, Ohio. (AP Photo/Ron Schwane)

The Browns selected N.C. State running back Matt Dayes with their second seventh-round pick.

The Browns took Arizona State kicker Zane Gonzalez with their first of two picks in the seventh round.

A Lou Groza Award finalist as a senior, Gonzalez is the FBS career record holder with 96 field goals. His 494 points also are a FBS record, as are his six games with at least four field goals, three field goals of at least 50 yards in a single game.

He’s also the first FBS kicker to make at least 20 field goals in each of his four seasons.

›› RELATED: Browns get their quarterback in second round

6th Round

1. (185)

The Cleveland Browns took Florida defensive tackle Caleb Brantley with the first pick of the sixth round.

Brantley, at 6-foot-3, 307-pounds, was a second-team All-SEC pick in 2016 after he finished tied for the Gators’ lead in tackles for loss (8.5, 2.5 sacks) as a 10-game starter. He also started 10 games in 2015, recording 6.5 tackles for loss and three sacks, and he played consistently enough as a freshman to earn a start in Florida’s bowl game.

Draft analysts said despite being slightly undersized, he is an efficient mover with lean muscle mass and thickness in his arms and legs. He comes with a red flag, has he is facing a misdemeanor battery charge after allegedly striking a woman on April 13. The outcome of that case is still pending.

5th Round

16. (160): Roderick Johnson, Offensive Tackle, Florida State

The 6-foot-7, 298-pound lineman was a two-time first-team All-ACC pick who started every game on the blind side since midway through the 2014 season, when he garnered Freshman All-American honors for his play.

Johnson twice received the Jacobs Blocking Trophy from league coaches because of his work at left tackle for the Seminoles. He has long arms that tend to disrupt edge rushers and he brings power in the run block.

4th Round

20. (126): Howard Wilson, Cornerback, Houston

The Browns traded up to get Wilson in the fourth round, as they were not scheduled to make their first pick of the day until the fifth round.

Wilson was a first-team All-American Athletic Conference pick in 2016 after leading Houston with five interceptions, as well as recording 54 tackles and five pass break-ups. He used a medical redshirt in 2015 after tearing up his knee after an interception in the season’s third game.

Jim McElwain downplays Florida’s 30-game streak over Kentucky, sees ‘totally different’ Wildcats

Published: Tuesday, September 19, 2017 @ 9:18 PM

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — As several Florida players took turns speaking with reporters after practice Tuesday night, one-by-one the team’s younger guys surprisingly claimed they weren’t even aware of the Gators’ 30-game winning streak over Kentucky.

“I actually didn’t know that,” redshirt freshman linebacker Jeremiah Moon said.

“That’s my first time hearing about that,” redshirt sophomore defensive lineman Luke Ancrum said. “We don’t try to look on the outside; we try to stay focused on us and trying to be 1-0 [this week].”

But really, no talk whatsoever of the streak?

“Uh, no. I wasn’t (aware). Now I am,” sophomore wide receiver Freddie Swain said. “They just tell us it’s another game, don’t take anybody lightly.”

It’s hard to hear anybody talk about this Florida-Kentucky game and not discuss the streak, which is now the fourth-longest in college football history and the longest active winning streak by one team over another in an uninterrupted annual series.

But sure, it definitely makes sense to downplay it, especially from Florida’s perspective.

That streak is looking plenty vulnerable as the No. 20 Gators (1-1) hit the road to take on an improving Kentucky program off to a 3-0 start this fall.

“I’ll let you guys talk about it,” coach Jim McElwain said Monday. “Every year it’s different. You’ve got two different teams playing, so right now it’s 0-0.” 

In this case, a potentially very different Kentucky team.

Most consecutive wins over an opponent in an uninterrupted series (played in consecutive years)

Streak Teams Years
43 Notre Dame over Navy 1964-2006
36 Nebraska over Kansas 1969-2004
32 Oklahoma over Kansas State 1937-1968
30 Florida over Kentucky 1987-current
29 Nebraska over Kansas State 1969-1997
28 Texas over Rice 1966-1993
26 Syracuse over Hobart 1906-1931
26 Tennessee over Kentucky 1985-2010

*Source: Florida athletics

The Gators walloped the Wildcats 45-7 in The Swamp in Week 2 of last season. That dropped the Wildcats to a humbling 0-2 as questions swirled about the direction of the program under coach Mark Stoops.

Since then? Kentucky has gone 10-4 and opened SEC play this fall with a 23-13 road win over South Carolina. Their 7-6 finish last year was the best through Stoops’ first four seasons and included the program’s first bowl game appearance since the 2010 season. Their 4-4 SEC record matched their total conference wins in Stoops’ first three seasons.

The Wildcats come into this game ranked third nationally in rush defense (57 yards per game) and eighth nationally in fumbles (4) through three games. That’s a small sample size from which to make any definitive determinations, and they are vulnerable through the air, ranking 107th allowing 289.7 passing yards per game.

But it’s easy to see what McElwain means when he says this is different brand of Kentucky football from past years.

“They’re playing the way he wants it played. I think they’ve done an outstanding job of fitting those pieces,” McElwain said. “They’ve got big, long corners that can really disrupt you on the outside. They’ve got some, what I’ve noticed is they’ve really increased their size on the inside. And you alluded to it, nobody’s running the football on them. Then when you’re not running it, it makes you one-dimensional. So I think that’s a credit to what he and his staff have been able to do.

“They’ve done some really good things there as a program emphasizing football. They’ve really given him some good things there to recruit to and obviously he’s done a heck of a job. I’ve seen it come a long ways. I mean, like you said, when I look all the way back this is a totally different Kentucky football team.”

Offensively, the Wildcats have a pair of dynamic playmakers in running back Benny Snell (272 yards, 3 touchdowns in 3 games; 1,091 rushing yards in 2016) and dual-threat quarterback Stephen Johnson (569 passing yards, 2 TDs, 1 INT, 132 rushing yards, 2 TDs through three games).

“The job he’s done, that Mark has done there, is incredible,” McElwain said. “You can see now after those years, his guys there, how they play, the type of guys they have, the athletes they have. I know we felt after the season last year when we went back and did our total recap that they had some of the best skill of anybody we played.”

The storyline has already been put out there this week, though, that for Stoops and Kentucky to really earn some respect in the SEC they need to snap this streak against Florida and beat the Gators for the first time since 1986.

“That’s probably like their Super Bowl, you know what I’m saying,” Swain said, considering the weight of the streak from the other side. “If I lost to a team that long, I mean, I’d try to win too. I mean that would be a big win.”

Whether the players feel it or not, it’s also a big deal for the Gators.

After everything this team has already endured to start this season, becoming the first Florida team in more than three decades to lose to Kentucky would not help the narrative.

Fifth-year senior safety Nick Washington, who was aware of the streak at least, said it’s simply not a focus for the team, however.

“We treat every game as the most important game of the season. We’ve gone on a streak for a really long time, but that’s not the focus this week,” he said. “The focus is we play Kentucky this week so that’s the biggest game (of the moment).

“I don’t think many guys are thinking that we’ve had a really long streak going against these guys and we can’t be the team to let the university down or our fans down.”

Nonetheless, depending on the outcome, that streak will assuredly be a primary postgame topic for one side or the other Saturday night in Lexington, Ky.

DPS hires Taylor over Pullen as Dunbar boys hoop coach

Published: Tuesday, September 19, 2017 @ 8:15 PM
Updated: Tuesday, September 19, 2017 @ 9:16 PM

The DPS school board by a vote of 4-2 opted not to rehire Pete Pullen as the Dunbar boys basketball coach and instead awarded the job to Charles Taylor on Monday, Sept. 19, 2017. MARC PENDLETON / STAFF

Dayton Public Schools parted ways with one of the most successful coaches in the history of the multiple-school urban district by not rehiring Pete Pullen as the Dunbar High School boys basketball coach.

By a 4-2 volte, the school board approved newcomer Charles Taylor as the Wolverines new coach during Tuesday’s board meeting. That was one of 13 winter sports head coaching positions that was approved by the school board.

The only other head coach change was longtime Meadowdale girls basketball coach Chad Miller. Calvin Mitchell succeeds Miller, who remains the school’s athletic director.

»RELATED: Timeline of OHSAA’s decision to penalize DPS

»RELATED: Dunbar won’t fight forfeits

»RELATED: Dunbar coaches, we were told to lose

»RELATED: DPS reacts to OHSAA ruling

Pullen, 63, coached Dunbar boys basketball the last 13 seasons. He oversaw a return to state prominence by the Dayton City League program, winning four Division II state championships in 2012 and ‘10 and consecutive titles in 2006-07. Dunbar also advanced to two more state final fours in that span.

Taylor has extensive AAU basketball coaching experience, but none at the high school level. He was a senior starter on Roth’s 1981 Class AAA state title team and is the older brother of former Dunbar basketball standout Kirk Taylor, a standout on Dunbar’s 1987 Class AAA state title team.

The decision to not rehire Pullen as coach is the latest in a series of consequential events that stem from an unprecedented circumstance during a Week 10 football game last season between Dunbar and Belmont at Welcome Stadium.

The Dunbar football coaching staff, including Pullen as the then-school’s athletic director, accused DPS director of athletics Mark Baker of instructing Dunbar to purposely lose the game so both teams would qualify for the 2016 playoffs and an academically ineligible player would not have to be reported.

Instead, Dunbar was hit with a two-game forfeit by the Ohio High School Athletic Association for the use of the ineligible football player, at least three regions of playoff football teams were adjusted and Pullen resigned as AD.

Dunbar coach Pete Pullen. Trotwood-Madison defeated Dunbar 83-54 in a boys high school basketball D-II regional final at Fairmont’s Trent Arena on Saturday, March 18, 2017. MARC PENDLETON / STAFF

After a lengthy investigation that concluded last spring and citing “a lack of administrative responsibility and institutional control,” the OHSAA placed the entire DPS athletic programs – all schools, girls and boys, seventh through 12th grades – on a three-year probation, fined the district $10,000 and athletics administrators were instructed to undergo additional training.

One year of probation will be dropped and $2,500 will be refunded if there are no further OHSAA violations by DPS schools through the 2018-19 school year. If there is another violation, the school district faces a revocation of its OHSAA membership.

DPS introduced new guidelines for athletics coaches soon after the OHSAA’s announcement. Among those were no one would be approved if already reprimanded by the district or the OHSAA. Another, that head coaches also could not be an athletic director, have been selectively enforced.

All coaching contracts for OHSAA member schools are annually renewable. Pullen previously said he had at least two interviews for the coaching position. Among the reasons he was told he likely wouldn’t retain the coaching position was his inquiry into the then-open Wayne boys basketball position.

Pullen retired from teaching in 2016, but returned to Dunbar this past school year as a classroom teacher at the request of school administrators. He attended Tuesday’s board meeting.


Approved on Tuesday

Boys basketball

Belmont: Art Winston

Dunbar: Charles Taylor

Meadowdale: Dwayne Chastain

Stivers: Felix Turner

Thurgood Marshall: Shawn McCullough

Girls basketball

Belmont: Larry Williams

Dunbar: Jim Cole

Meadowdale: Calvin Mitchell

Stivers: Michael Powell

Thurgood Marshall: Khalil Franklin


Belmont: Joseph Wiehe

Meadowdale: Jackie Fails, Jr.

Thurgood Marshall: Armiya Muhammed

Local Wrestling Star: Bobby Heenan was the greatest manager ever, but an even greater friend

Published: Tuesday, September 19, 2017 @ 9:12 PM

Bobby "The Brain" Heenan was a "heel" manager and commentator during a career that spanned four decades.(WWE photo)

Before Bobby Heenan was ‘The Brain,’ or was considered the greatest pro wrestling manager and commentator ever, he was starting out at the bottom of a promotion in Indianpolis, where he became friends with local wrestling legend Les Thatcher

Thatcher was a star wrestler out of Cincinnati who promoted shows out of Dayton for years. Thatcher worked the various wrestling territories and became a top announcer and commentator in the 1970s. After Ric Flair recovered from a plane crash in the middle of the decade, it was Thatcher behind the camera as a producer, helping Flair develop his ‘Nature Boy’ persona.

Thatcher, who worked as a trainer for WCW and WWE and still hosts training seminars for eager young wrestlers, repeated others in saying Heenan was the greatest manager and commentator in pro wrestling, but said he was also one of his greatest friends.

“If he was your friend, he was your friend for life,” Thatcher said. 

Heenan and Thatcher met in the WWA, a promotion owned by old school wrestler “Dick the Bruiser,” and based out of Heenan’s hometown of Indianapolis. Heenan started in 1963 by getting jackets from wrestlers at ringside and taking them to the back. He was wrestling matches himself by 1965.

“I would tease him later,” Thatcher said. “I told him I’d remember when he worked at a Ford dealership, but now he owned it.”

Heenan played the villain nearly his entire career, but to the people he knew he was devoutly loyal.

When Vince McMahon’s World Wrestling Federation began raiding other promotions for talent, Heenan couldn’t get the American Wrestling Association to match their offer, but he refused to leave Verne Gagne’s AWA until his contract was up. In a documentary about the AWA’s war with WWF, Gagne’s son Greg said Heenan was the only person out of dozens who honored their contract before jumping to McMahon’s company. 

“When he was in WCW, Bischoff would knock (WWE’s) Vince McMahon and Bobby just wouldn’t do it,” Thatcher said. “He said he was treated right when he worked there, and he wasn’t going to say anything negative about them. It was just his personality. He was a good person.”

McMahon noticed Heenan’s talent when he immediately came to the company. The WWF started the “Bobby Heenan Show” which aired as part of the company’s prime time show wrestling hour on USA Network. A parody of late night talk shows, only four segments aired but hashad a devout cult following for 30 years. 

While the WWF in the 1980s was filled with heroes like Hulk Hogan, the Ultimate Warrior and others, almost all its villains were managed by Heenan. Some pay-per-views he would manage nearly every match. He’s the only manager in the history of the wrestling business to earn a six-figure paycheck for one show.

After leaving the WWF, he went to WCW to replace the disgruntled Jesse Ventura. He had a natural chemistry with WCW announcer Tony Schiavone when calling matches in the early years, mainly commentating straight before he would return to his bad guy personality soon after.

He left WCW in 2000, unhappy with the company and feeling uninspired. He had issues with his former broadcast partner Tony Schiavone over what Heenan felt was a lack of loyalty. WCW was out of business less than a year later. Two years later he had throat cancer, which cost him his famous voice. During this period he wrote two memoirs in two years.

To put Heenan’s status into perspective, pro wrestling journalist Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer was asked during his radio show if he ever felt fear being in the presence of wrestlers or at a wrestling event.

He said only once, when he was booked for the same radio show as Heenan when the pro wrestling business was much more secretive. Heenan and Meltzer were in the same room waiting to go on the air with Heenan, who wasn’t humored. It only took one look from Heenan before Meltzer asked that he not be on the air as the same time as “The Brain,” and have to possibly go against him live on the air.

“He had what Jim Cornette or Jerry Lawler had - it’s something you can’t teach, it’s just there. Just things coming off the top of your head and out your mouth. he was a genius at it.

“He was so talented,” Thatcher said. “He didn’t have to try to be funny, and that’s a problem for a lot of guys these days, they try to be funny but they don’t have it.”

Heenan’s health issues continued to deterioriate, he eventually had surgery to remove parts of his jaw. In the last years of his life he was hurt during falls at his home. He also wore a neck brace, similar to Roger Ebert, looked unrecognizable, and could only speak a few words before becoming exhausted.

This didn’t stop Heenan from going out in public or attending autograph signings or wrestling events.

“The amazing thing was, after everything that happened to him, he had the same spirit and personality.”

Thatcher last saw Heenan in 2013 at a convention the weekend of Wrestlemania in New Jersey at Giants Stadium. 

“The event was so huge, you couldn’t see everyone. Then someone asked if I saw Bobby Heenan. I said I didn’t feel right leaving without doing that. I was able to give him a hug and tell him I loved him.

“The amazing thing was, after everything that happened to him, he had the same spirit.”

New Orleans Saints trade LB Stephone Anthony to Miami Dolphins

Published: Tuesday, September 19, 2017 @ 9:07 PM

The New Orleans Saints have trade linebacker Stephone Anthony to the Miami Dolphins. In exchange for the 25-year-old defender, the Dolphins sent the Saints a fifth-round pick in the 2018 NFL Draft.

This move makes perfect sense for the Dolphins given the bizarre situation surrounding veteran linebacker Lawrence Timmons, who was a free agent acquisition the offseason. Timmons went AWOL on Saturday and into Sunday, which caused team officials to notify authorities of his disappearance. The team finally tracked him down, and Timmons was supposedly doing better. Despite his intentions to return to football immediately, Miami suspended the 31-year-old linebacker indefinitely on Tuesday morning.

Anthony was a first-round pick of the Saints in 2015 (No. 31 overall), and he flashed big-time potential as a rookie in 2015. The former Clemson standout fell out of favor with New Orleans during the 2016 season, which caused the Saints to shop him this past offseason. He now has a chance to resurrect his NFL career with the Dolphins, who have one of the better defenses in the league.