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Published: Monday, July 17, 2017 @ 9:19 AM
Ezekiel Elliott had a huge rookie season for the Dallas Cowboys, but bad news has tailed him off the field much of the time since he was drafted in the first round out of Ohio State over a year ago.
A Dallas radio station reports Elliott was “involved in a late-night altercation” at a Dallas bar.
Although the report does not indicate if Elliott is actually accused of a crime, it comes after reports the Missouri native could soon face a short suspension from the NFL, which has reportedly been investigating an alleged domestic violence incident involving Elliott and a woman in Columbus last year.
Police declined to press charges in that case “due to conflicting and inconsistent information,” but Mike Fisher of 105.3 The Fan in Dallas reports this morning the league is still considering punishing Elliott for an accumulation of incidents.
Published: Thursday, April 19, 2018 @ 11:36 AM
CINCINNATI — Cincinnati Reds General Manager Dick Williams called his franchise’s 3-15 start “very disappointing,” and it became apparent a change had to happen to get it back on track.
That led the firing of manager Bryan Price and pitching coach Mack Jenkins on Thursday. The Reds announced the decision at 8:33 a.m. Williams and Jim Riggleman, who was named interim manager, spoke to reporters on a conference call at 11 a.m.
“We felt we had to act now and couldn’t afford to wait,” Williams said. “I know it seems early in the year to some people, and it certainly is early in the regular season, but we’ve been thinking of the 2018 season since the day the 2017 season ended, and we had all offseason to prepare. We were out in Arizona for six weeks. We feel we’re well into the 2018 season. We’ve had a lot of chances to observe this group together and see them get off to the kind of start we hoped, and it’s not there. We felt like now was the right time to do something about it.”
» HISTORY LESSON: Rare for Reds to fire a coach this early in season
The Reds, who own the worst record in baseball and are off to their worst start since 1931, are off Thursday and start a three-game series in St. Louis on Friday.
“We’re going to hit the ground running tomorrow with Jim in place and a couple new members of the staff,” Williams said. “We’re very focused on creating a sense of urgency for these guys to perform now. We talk about rebuilding, and there’s things going on away from the field and in the farm system and investments in the franchise that are part of that rebuilding process, but when guys show up to work every day, they need to have a sense of urgency to win that day. They need to take care of the details on the field. They need to play hard. They need to play smart. They need to play it right. That we can control, and we need to get this team playing that way because we know they have the ability to do it. That is the short-team immediate focus.”
The Reds will conduct a search for a permanent manager later in the year. For now, it’s Riggleman’s team. He will manage his fifth different team in the big leagues. His bench coach is Pat Kelly, who was promoted from Triple-A Louisville, where he was managing the Bats, and his pitching coach is Danny Darwin, who was the pitching coach at Double-A Pensacola.
Published: Thursday, April 19, 2018 @ 12:35 PM
CINCINNATI — Quarterbacks got the most attention in the locker room after the Cincinnati Bengals held a workout for local players this week.
But 21 other players share the field with them, and a potential sleeper pick with local ties was sitting a few lockers away as J.T. Barrett and Malik Zaire talked about their pro prospects.
Heath Harding, who starred at Dayton Christian before becoming an All-MAC defensive back at Miami University, didn’t look too offended.
He was happy for the chance to work out in front of more NFL scouts — and to explain what he can bring to a team.
“I can cover well. I can hit. I can set the edge in run support, and I have great versatility,” he said. “I can play inside, outside or over the top at safety.”
How about this one? Heath Harding strips the ball from the WR and it just so happens to land right in Brad Koenig's hands.— Miami Football (@MiamiOHFootball) December 12, 2017
Top Play #5 👇 pic.twitter.com/hJlUrz5BVM
“Happy” seems to be the default setting for Harding, who already has a good idea about what he wants to do when his football career is over.
He graduated with a degree in journalism in December and credited veteran sports journalist Terence Moore with taking him under his wing.
Moore, a long-time Atlanta Journal-Constitution writer who also graduated from Miami, has edited Harding’s work and many tips for making it in this business.
The biggest one? “Read the newspaper because it helps build better habits,” said Harding, who also used an internship with Miami assistant athletics director Steve Baker to learn more about the video side of the business.
Those mentors and a warm personality should take Harding far when it comes time to enter the field.
“They call me the ‘Mayor of Oxford’ because I’m a smooth talker and all that stuff,” he said. “I don’t know. That’s just how I was raised. I was raised to be a nice person. I get that from my family. That’s just me.”
First thing’s first, though.
Harding may not hear his name called early — or at all — in the NFL draft, but NFL.com rates him as having a better-than-average chance to make an NFL roster.
Listed at 5-foot-10, 190 pounds, Harding is not the most imposing physical presence, but he logged five interceptions and 20 pass breakups the past two seasons in Oxford while also making 130 tackles.
“I think every football player’s dream is to get drafted — It’s mine,” Harding said. "If it happens, great, if not, that’s not the end of the world for me. As long as I get the opportunity to play the game I love, I’ll be satisfied.”
Teams that look past his measurements will find one who was productive for four seasons at Miami and won’t back down from a challenge.
Congratulations to Heath Harding for being named All-MAC!— Miami Football (@MiamiOHFootball) November 29, 2017
He finishes his Miami career with 290 tackles, 18 TFL, 10 INTs, 30 PBU & four FF. pic.twitter.com/sEl26o0VrQ
“I think like all things film speaks for itself, and I have a lot of production on film,” Harding said. “I think the film should override everything because there’s just so much of it. One workout is not going to change the perception of me that 51 games have. So I come out here and put on a show the best I can so people can see me live action, but at the end of the day I’m the same player you saw in those 51 games.”
He can cover and tackle, making him a versatile secondary player looking to find a spot in a league where those are becoming more valuable with increased reliance on three-receiver sets.
“It’s no secret that during my college career I loved to hit people,” Harding said. “Not many corners put their stamp on tackling. They just want to cover and get interceptions. I take pride in both. If you’re on my side, whether it’s run or pass, you’re gonna see me.”
He compared his style of play to that of Seahawks star safety Early Thomas, who is listed at 5-10, 202.
“Just ready to come down and smack people and cause havoc. You don’t see that usually from corners. Usually corners are the tall guys that are trying to finesse, that’s just not me. I’m a grimy player. I do what I can to get the job done.”Follow @marcushartman
Published: Thursday, April 19, 2018 @ 9:19 AM
— Turns out losing games actually does have consequences in Cincinnati.
That’s reassuring, I guess.
RELATED: What’s a manager worth, anyway?
The Cincinnati Reds firing Bryan Price might not make them better, but at least he will no longer be able to make them worse.
I wanted Price to work out as the team’s manager, and I don’t want to celebrate anyone losing their job.
He seems like a good man who knows baseball. I hope he lands on his feet, and I believe he will.
But he had to go.
Dusty Baker (Price’s predecessor) did some great things to help close the door on a decade-plus of losing, but he had taken the Reds as far as he could with his managerial style (good) and lineup-building foibles (bad).
Price, the architect of a great pitching staff under Baker, made as much sense as anyone to get the job four years ago.
He stumbled out of the gate with a flawed team, but he showed some progress as the manager even as the roster got worse and injuries multiplied.
Certainly making a change after last season would have been justified, but sticking with him wasn’t the worst idea, either, considering he had not really had much to work with and there was reason to think the Reds would be better this season.
With a 3-15 record, they are not, of course.
So far, this has looked like one of the worst Cincinnati teams ever, in fact, and Price blew multiple games last week with bizarre late-inning decisions.
The manager doesn’t swing the bat and he doesn’t make the pitches (or throw the ball over Joey Votto’s head), but he’s in there for some reason, right?
This team needs new direction.
They needed to do something to shake up the clubhouse before losing became a way of life for another summer on the riverfront.
After players’ managers like Baker and Price, perhaps a good ol’ fashioned butt kicker could do some good.
We shall see if Jim Riggleman is that man.
If not, well, we’ll see next year if it’s someone else.Follow @marcushartman
Published: Thursday, April 19, 2018 @ 10:19 AM
— Jim Riggleman is the interim manager of the Cincinnati Reds, replacing Bryan Price after the latter was fired Thursday.
Here are five things to know about the new man in charge:
1. The 65-year-old has been involved in professional baseball since 1974.
The Los Angeles Dodgers drafted Riggleman out of Frostburg State in the fourth round in 1974.
He spent eight seasons playing in the minor leagues, mostly in Double-A.
2. Riggleman has previously managed four MLB teams.
The New Jersey native managed the Padres from late 1992-94 then spent five seasons with the Chicago Cubs, part of one with the Seattle Mariners and two-plus seasons with the Washington Nationals.
3. His best team won 90 games.
The 1998 Chicago Cubs went 90-73 under Riggleman and won the National League Wild card.
That team’s second-place finish is the highest for any of Riggleman’s teams. His career record as a manager is 662-824, a .445 winning percentage.
Hunter Greene battles elements in second start for Dayton Dragons https://t.co/KNa9vchqJZ— daytonsports (@daytonsports) April 19, 2018
4. Riggleman famously walked out of the Nationals in 2011.
Washington finished in third place in 2011, but Riggleman wasn’t around to see it.
He resigned in June over a dispute about his job security.
“I know what the right thing to do is,” Riggleman said at the time according to the Washington Post. “You don’t keep a manager on a one-year deal in major league baseball. I’m not happy about it. I just feel in my heart it’s the right thing to do.”
5. 2018 is Riggelman’s seventh season working for the Reds.
He joined the Reds player development department in 2012 as manager of Double-A Pensacola before spending two years managing the Triple-A Louisville Bats.
He joined the major-league club as third base coach in 2015 and was in his third season as bench coach before being promoted Thursday.Follow @marcushartman