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Oct 18, 2012 11:25pm
Medium lingzi 1454 posts

FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. Justin Tucker Jersey . —Atlanta Falcons
tight end Tony Gonzalez is close to retiring from the NFL. How close is up in
the air. Gonzalez said Friday that hes 95 per cent sure the upcoming season will
be his last, but he wasnt ready to completely rule out a return in 2013. “Ive
had a great run,” he said. “I dont want to be one of those players toward the
end of their careers—and nothing against guys that have done it like that in
the past—but I want to make sure that Im at the top of my game when I do go
out.” After the Atlanta Falcons finished their second day of training camp
Friday, Gonzalez said off-season discussions with family members and friends
helped him understand that the end is near. Hes accomplished quite a bit in 15
seasons and last year surpassed Terrell Owens, Tim Brown, Cris Carter and
Marvin Harrison to become No. 2 on the leagues career receptions list with 1,149
catches. Considering that he earned a 12th trip to the Pro Bowl last season,
Gonzalez believes he could play at a high level for perhaps another three years,
but at 36, he doesnt want to hang around too long. “Sometimes you have to call
it quits, and Im just one of those type of guys that I cant handle being average
at this sport because Ive been at the top for a while,” Gonzalez said. “I hope
thats not coming off as cocky, but its just the way I operate. I dont want to
come out there and be somewhat of a role player.” The Falcons, who acquired
Gonzalez in a March 2009 trade that sent a second-round draft pick to Kansas
City, signed him to a one-year, $6.9 million contract extension before a Week 17
win over Tampa Bay last season. Though Atlanta played poorly the following week
in a wild-card playoff loss at the New York Giants, Gonzalez still finished the
regular season with his best numbers in three years with the Falcons, catching
80 passes for 875 yards and seven touchdowns. Gonzalez insisted that he doesnt
want to publicly discuss retirement again until the end of the season. “I dont
want to be a distraction to myself, first and foremost,” he said. “I dont want
to play games in my head. Im sticking to it, and well know at the end of the
season. We have a long time before that day even comes.” Gonzalez is the first
NFL tight end—and 13th player in history—with more than 13,000 yards
receiving. He holds nearly every NFL record, including 95 touchdown catches, for
his position. One statistic that amazes Falcons coach Mike Smith is Gonzalezs
ball security. He hasnt fumbled since Week 16 of 2006. The last time he lost a
fumble was in Week 5 of 1999—a span of 202 straight games and 1,038
receptions. “Its phenomenal,” Smith said. “It says a lot to the way he works in
practice. When you watch him, hes playing it like its a game. Hes catching the
ball. Hes putting it away. Hes finishing his catches and running through the end
zone. It just speaks volumes.” A storybook ending for Gonzalez would be to win a
playoff game for the first time in his career and help the Falcons earn their
first Super Bowl title. But for now, he plans to soak in the atmosphere of each
day. “Im about 95 per cent sure (to retire), but Im enjoying it,” he said. “Its
kind of a good thing. Because I know this is probably going to be my last camp,
I get to enjoy it a little bit more and enjoy the guys a little bit more and
really concentrate on just having fun this season. And that means winning games.
Weve got a great football team.” Terrell Suggs Jersey .Y. —Interim coach
Mike Woodson says Jeremy Lin will not play in the Knicks first-round series
against Miami, even if they avoid elimination Wednesday. Torrey Smith Jersey Elite . Sixth-seeded
Cilic had earlier beaten American Sam Querrey 6-3, 3-6, 6-3. Playing in windy
conditions, the American failed to win any of the nine break points in the
20-minute third game and was broken at love to leave Cilic serving for the
opening set at 5-3. http://www.ravensproshop.com/torrey-smith-jerseys
. As a result, the French forward was traded to Toronto late Friday in a move
that works out well for both teams. Despite his status as a fan-favourite,
Hasslis departure from the Whitecaps should come as no surprise. Vonta Leach Jersey . Second-seeded Alexandr
Dolgopolov faced No. 8 Sam Querrey in the second semifinal. Haas, the German
ranked 36th in the world, improved to 4-1 against Fish, and has won six of his
last seven matches against top-15 players. Cary Williams Jersey . The team placed Crosby
on the injured list Monday, a move that was a technicality since the former MVP
had not been activated since his season ended prematurely last January.
CLEVELAND —One month, one miserable month wiped out almost everything Manny
Acta did for three years. “That month just crushed our hopes,” Acta said. And
cost him his second job as a major league manager. Acta was fired Thursday by
the Cleveland Indians, who collapsed from contention with a 5-24 record in
August, the worst month in the franchises 112-year history. Acta, hired in 2009
after two tough seasons in Washington, paid the steepest price for the Indians
stunning slide that dropped them to last place in the AL Central. It certainly
wasnt all Actas fault, but he took the fall. During the clubs August meltdown,
Acta tried everything he could to turn things around. He changed his starting
lineup, called team meetings, altered routines—all to no avail. Once the
Indians began to slip in the standings, there was nothing the 43-year-old Acta
could do to stop them. And with six games left in this disappointing season, the
Indians, who are just 21-50 in the second half, decided to begin moving forward
without Acta. “I had a great three years here,” he said on a conference call. “I
have no regrets and no bitterness. I gave my best and thats all I can do.” Acta
went 214-266 in nearly three seasons with the Indians, who were within 3 1-2
games of first on July 26 following a shocking comeback win at home over Detroit
ace Justin Verlander. However, they lost the following day and would eventually
lose 11 straight games. A season that began with so much hope turned to despair.
“My job was to make us better,” Acta said. “We didnt get better.” General
manager Chris Antonetti announced Actas firing on an off day before the Indians
opened their final homestand against Kansas City and the Chicago White Sox. If
there is any solace to Acta its that his final two games were road wins over the
second-place White Sox, who are chasing Detroit for the division title. Acta
felt he never lost his clubhouse and praised his players for continuing to play
hard when the season unraveled. Bench coach Sandy Alomar, a six-time All-Star
catcher for the Indians and fan favourite, will replace Acta on an interim basis
for the last six games of 2012. Antonetti called Alomar a “primary candidate” to
possibly replace Acta as Clevelands next manager but wouldnt label him the
front-runner. The 46-year-old Alomar has been considered for previous openings
in Toronto, Boston and with the Chicago Cubs. He would seem to fit perfectly
with what the Indians are looking for. “Sandy brings a lot to the table,”
Antonetti said. “Hes obviously been a managerial candidate in other places and
Im confident he will be a primary candidate. Where he will fit among the
alternatives, I dont think its fair for me to speculate at this point.”
Antonetti would not comment on the possibility former Red Sox manager Terry
Francona is on the clubs list of candidates. Acta hired Alomar and feels he will
be a solid major league manager. “I know Sandy is a very good baseball man,”
Acta said. &”He was very helpful to me over the last three years. Haloti Ngata Jersey. ” Acta laughed when he
asked if Alomar should replace him. “If Im not good enough to be the manager,”
he said with a chuckle, “dont ask me to be the general manager.” Some key
decisions by Antonetti that backfired contributed to the Indians struggles this
season, and the GM didnt duck his share of responsibility in Clevelands
collapse. “Mannys not the only one to blame,” Antonetti said. “We need to really
look hard organizationally at how we can get better, especially at the major
league level because our performance was not what we expected and not what we
hoped. We have higher expectations and we need to do a better job of identifying
some of those solutions.” Antonetti said following recent discussions with team
president Mark Shapiro and owner Paul Dolan, the decision to dismiss Acta was
made Wednesday night. Acta met Antonetti at Progressive Field at 1 p.m. on
Thursday. With upcoming player and coaches meetings, Antonetti felt it was
unfair to keep Acta around as the team planned ahead. “Those meetings will be
forward looking,” Antonetti said. “We thought it best, and out of respect for
Manny, to allow him to move on.” Acta was caught off guard by the news. “I was
surprised,” he said. “I wasnt expecting it, but when you play the way we played,
anything can happen.” It didnt help Actas cause that the Indians had several
players underperform while others couldnt stay healthy this season. Former
All-Star centre fielder Grady Sizemore, who was signed to a one-year, $5 million
free-agent contract in November despite missing most of the past three seasons
with injuries, never got healthy enough to play. Designated hitter Travis Hafner
missed several months with a bad back. And, Antonettis major acquisition in 2011
of ace Ubaldo Jimenez failed to pay off as the right-hander went 9-17 with a
5.55 ERA. Also, despite the obvious need for a right-handed hitting outfielder,
the Indians never signed one and Antonetti was unable to find any external help
at the trading deadline. As the losses in August and September mounted.
Antonetti realized change was needed. “We always remained hopeful that our play
would improve and we would turn things around in the second half,” he said.
“Unfortunately as the days dwindled, it didnt happen.” Acta refused to use an
insufficient roster as an excuse for losing. “Im not going to sit here and point
fingers or second guess myself,” he said. “I didnt go to the ballpark and wing
it. Its a little disappointing when you cant win as often as you want. But thats
the game, I guess.” Acta believes he has grown following stints with the
Nationals and Indians. Hes confident another team will give him a chance. “I
want to manage again, but right now I want to go home to Florida and be a
father, a husband, a son and a brother,” he said. “Ill keep my head up and move
forward.” ’ ’ ’ 

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