<![CDATA[NBC Bay Area - Bay Area Sports News, Sports Teams, and Scores for the Sharks, 49ers, Raiders,Giants, Bears and More]]> Copyright 2015 http://www.nbcbayarea.com/news/sports http://media.nbcbayarea.com/designimages/nbc_bayarea_blue.png NBC Bay Area http://www.nbcbayarea.com en-us Sun, 19 Apr 2015 08:40:06 -0700 Sun, 19 Apr 2015 08:40:06 -0700 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[San Francisco Giants Unveil 2014 Championship Ring]]> Sat, 18 Apr 2015 19:30:39 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/160*143/12345678912321.jpg The San Francisco Giants unveiled their 2014 World Championship Ring before a sold out crowd at AT&T Park Saturday.

Photo Credit: San Francisco Giants]]>
<![CDATA[Golden State Warriors 2015 Fan Photos]]> Sat, 18 Apr 2015 20:05:59 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/160*120/CC6HlN4UkAIcRqz.jpg+large.jpg Here are some fan photos, as they root on the 2015 Golden State Warriors.

Photo Credit: Christie Smith]]>
<![CDATA[LA Kings' Stoll Arrested for Drugs]]> Sat, 18 Apr 2015 01:08:33 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/179*120/460177104.jpg

It’s been a rough week for the Los Angeles Kings. Not only were the reigning Stanley Cup Champions eliminated from the NHL Playoffs, but now news has broken that their star center, Jarret Stoll, has been arrested in Las Vegas for possession of cocaine and MDMA.

Las Vegas Metro police arrested Stoll on Friday at the MGM Grand hotel for drug possession. The 32-year-old hockey player was relaxing at the Wet Republic pool when he was taken into custody for possession of cocaine and MDMA, a more pure form of the drug Ecstasy.

Stoll was released from jail on a $5,000 bond later in the evening and a hearing has been set for Saturday. According to the Clark County police, the NHL and the LA Kings have been made aware of the situation. When contacted regarding the incident, an LA Kings spokesperson said that they are aware of Stoll’s arrest and are “actively investigating” the matter and had no further comment.

Stoll completed the final year of his contract this season with the Kings and is set to become an unrestricted free agent after the season. Off the ice, Stoll is the long time boyfriend of sportscaster and “Dancing with the Stars” host Erin Andrews. The pair have been dating since 2013, and recent reports had the couple engaged. No word yet on whether or not Andrews was with Stoll at the time of his arrest or if anybody else was with Stoll at the scene.

Photo Credit: Christian Petersen]]>
<![CDATA[Abdul-Jabbar Has Heart Surgery]]> Fri, 17 Apr 2015 18:09:07 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/173*120/AP120126058268.jpg

The NBA’s all-time leading scorer, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, underwent quadruple coronary bypass surgery Thursday after being admitted to Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center with cardiovascular disease this week, Abdul-Jabbar said in a statement released by the University of California Los Angeles' Health Science Department.

The Basketball Hall of Fame member's surgery was a success and he was expected to make a full recovery, Dr. Richard Shermin, UCLA's chief of cardiac surgery, said in the statement.

Abdul-Jabbar thanked his surgical team and the medical staff at UCLA and said he was "looking forward to getting back to normal activities soon."

He asked that support for him go toward people in the community who may also be suffering from various health issues.

No other information was available.

<![CDATA[Hunter's Return Could be Big Boost for 49ers]]> Fri, 17 Apr 2015 08:59:25 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/160*120/HuntrKendl.jpg

In a recent video posted by the 49ers, running back Kendall Hunter is shown going through a high-speed drill, churning his legs and feet. He’s changing directions and cutting quickly. There is absolutely no indication that Hunter is anything less than 100 percent healthy.

And for the 49ers, that’s great news.

Hunter, who served as Frank Gore’s No. 1 backup over his first three seasons (2011-2013), tore his ACL early in training camp last July and was lost for the season.

The 49ers missed Hunter’s quickness and change of pace during an 8-8 season. In the three seasons previous, he’d been an excellent contributor, averaging 4.6 yards per carry while scoring seven touchdowns.

Now, Hunter is fit again, taking part in offseason workouts and being counted on to be part of a three-headed running back attack with newly acquired Reggie Bush and Carlos Hyde, who is entering his second season.

Though the 49ers likely will miss Gore – who left in free agency – the team hopes to get as much cumulative production out of its trio. Certainly with Hunter and Bush, the running back corps may in fact be a bit quicker than it was in 2014.

Quarterback Colin Kaepernick, for one, thinks the threesome will be fine.

“We have Kendall coming back, who a lot of people forget about,” he told reporters recently. “Carlos had a great rookie year for us and we’ll probably be using him a lot more this year. We’ve brought Reggie in, who’s another great weapon on offense.”

It’s possible the 49ers may also bring in another running back through the draft, too, but general manager Trent Baalke seems excited about Hunter’s return. 

“He has progressed very well,” Baalke recently said of Hunter’s health. “Talk about a guy that works. … He’s a grinder.”


Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Rumors Have Raiders Interested in Adrian Peterson]]> Fri, 17 Apr 2015 08:56:53 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/AdPete.jpg

Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson was reinstated by the NFL on Friday after nearly a full season away from football.

The question now is, will he remain a Viking, or will Minnesota trade him away?

The most likely scenario is that Peterson stays a Viking. Even though Peterson is now 30 and his salary cap figure in 2015 is $15.4 million, Peterson is an amazing talent and it appears the Vikes want to mend fences and keep Peterson in the offense.

But it’s also been reported that Peterson could be traded.

And if it does come to that, some believe Peterson could wind up in Oakland.

Mike Freeman, Bleacher Report’s lead NFL writer, wrote Thursday that the most likely landing spots for Peterson would be the Cowboys, the Cardinals or the Raiders. Freeman quoted one NFL general manager (who chose to remain anonymous) as saying the Raiders are right there with Dallas as a front-runner for Peterson.

The Raiders, after all, still have enough space under the salary cap to pay Peterson, and have a desire to get better, fast. Plus, new Raiders offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave was the Vikings’ coordinator when Peterson had his best season in 2012. And Peterson – even at 30 – is likely fresh from a year off and ready to show he’s the same explosive, tough and fast running back he was before 2014. In 2013, he gained 1,266 yards and averaged 4.5 yards per carry. In 2012, he averaged 6.0 yards per touch and amassed 2,097 yards rushing.

Freeman, in fact, believes Peterson will come back this season as strong as ever and that the standard line of thinking that a running back’s talents evaporate at age 30 don’t have any relevance when talking about Peterson.

“Peterson is superhuman enough where he could beat the Curse of the 30-Year-Old Back for two or three more years,” he wrote. “He’s that much of a freak.”

But would the Raiders go all in for Peterson?

Bill Williamson, who covers the Raiders for ESPN.com, doesn’t think so. He believes general manager Reggie McKenzie may be unwilling to trade a high pick to the Vikings for Peterson.

“McKenzie holds his draft picks dear and he continues to build the roster,” wrote Williamson. “The Raiders value the No. 35 overall pick, the third pick in the second round. The Vikings may not take less, although they want a first-rounder. The Raiders have added more than a dozen players this offseason. None is older than 28. Peterson is 30.”

It’s possible that the Raiders could go after Peterson if they judge he could help them for several seasons – that they wouldn’t be surrendering a big part of their future – and that the salary-cap hit is worth it, writes Williamson. But he doesn’t believe it’s likely.

If the bridge between the Vikes and Peterson doesn’t quickly get repaired, however, the rumors about trading him to Oakland could soon get louder.


Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Reporter Bob Redell Tries - and Fails - at 77 3-Pointers]]> Fri, 17 Apr 2015 08:39:01 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/KNTV_000000011061078_1200x675_429677123842.jpg NBC Bay Area’s Bob Redell tried hard, but failed, at sinking 77 3-pointers, something Warriors point guard Stephen Curry achieved earlier this week.]]> <![CDATA[Ex-NFL Player Strangled Cellmate: Coroner]]> Fri, 17 Apr 2015 07:38:28 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/lawrence-phillips-2005.jpg

Former NFL running back Lawrence Phillips killed his cellmate by strangling him, authorities said Thursday.

The Kern County Coroner released the new details in the homicide of Damion Soward, 37, at the Kern Valley State Prison. The coroner’s report states that Soward died of neck compression asphyxia.

Phillips, 39, is charged with Soward’s murder and is currently being held in a segregation unit at the prison.

Phillips is already serving a 31-year sentence for multiple charges, including spousal abuse and auto theft, officials said.

Phillips was once one of the nation's top college football players at Nebraska. He was drafted 6th overall by the St. Louis Rams in the 1996 NFL Draft.

He only played in 25 games and scored 12 touchdowns for the Rams, but also had short stints with the Miami Dolphins and San Francisco 49ers.

In 2005, jurors convicted Phillips of choking a former girlfriend twice in San Diego, once into unconsciousness. He was also convicted of hitting three teenagers with his car in Los Angeles.

Photo Credit: NBC 7 Archives]]>
<![CDATA[Stow Throws 1st Pitch at SJ Giants Home Opener]]> Thu, 16 Apr 2015 23:41:47 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/0416-2015-BryanStow.jpg

It was a moment four years in the making for the Giants organization and for Bryan Stow.

The Giants fan beaten outside Dodger Stadium threw out the ceremonial first pitch at Thursday's home opener for the San Jose Giants, a team where he used to be a paramedic before he was left brain damaged in the attack four years ago.

"A lot was going through my brain," Stow said after the pitch. "This has been really big for me."

The former Santa Cruz paramedic, now 46, was left severely brain-damaged after the attack in Los Angeles in 2011. His prognosis was grim.

But then he started progressing and kept his love of baseball at the top of his mind.

Stow's son three years ago threw out the first pitch at a San Francisco Giants game in his honor because he could not himself.

Stow continues to push himself, which made Thursday's pitch a special moment for him and his family.

"I'm trying to make the best of what's come of me," Stow said. "I'm getting my walking back. I need to walk more."

Stow also joked around about the first pitch.

"I would love to do it again," he said. "When do they play again? Tomorrow? I can be here tomorrow!"

All jokes aside, Stow's pitch and the ovation he received from those in attendance is something that will fuel his comeback.

"Thank you to my fans. To the fans that are here for me, thank you," he said. "I can go home and cry over this like I'll do on the way home tonight."

The San Jose Giants are a minor league baseball team, and the farm team for the San Francisco Giants since 1988. Last year, Stow hollered "Play ball" during Game 4 of the World Series between the Giants and the Kansas City Royals.

A Los Angeles Superior Court jury awarded Stow $18 million from the Dodgers and his assailants in 2014, although his family has yet to receive any of it. Two men, Louie Sanchez and Marvin Norwood, pleaded guilty to charges from the attack including mayhem and assault. Sanchez received eight years in prison, Norwood was sentenced to four years.

Stow had come a long way since the attack. He came out of a coma, spent many years in a wheelchair, but is now able to walk and stand with a walker for short periods of time. He recently threw balls to his father, Dave, in his parent's Capitola backyard. In his interview with the Mercury News, he was quite coherent, but it was also clear he suffers some memory loss and concentration.

To learn more about Stow and contribute to his ongoing medical care, click here.

Alan Waples, Lisa Fernandez and Kristofer Noceda contributed to this report.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area
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<![CDATA[Warriors. vs. Nuggets 133-126]]> Thu, 16 Apr 2015 12:58:52 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/IMG_0790-2.jpg With a win over the Denver Nuggets last night (133-126), the Golden State Warriors put yet another stamp in their win book on their way to the 2015 NBA Playoffs where they will face the New Orleans Pelicans in the first round. The season began with controversy when former head coach Mark Jackson was replaced with a rookie head coach. The Warriors entered the 2014-2015 with a lot of questions, a lot of doubters and a lot of uncertainty about the future that lay ahead. However, the Warriors seem to have answered many, if not all of those questions and silenced many of the naysayers by finishing with an impressive and historical 67-15 record this season. Stever Kerr set a record by becoming the winningest rookie coach in NBA history and Golden State Warriors All-star guard, Stephen Curry, set a record a single-season record by hitting 286 three-pointers. Photos by Ariel Nava.

Photo Credit: Ariel Nava]]>
<![CDATA[Peet's Coffee Makes Golden State Warriors Blend]]> Thu, 16 Apr 2015 10:39:19 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/468634266.jpg

Two unlikely Bay Area brands have joined forces.

Peets Coffee & Tea has launched a coffee in honor of the Golden State Warriors basketball team called Warriors Grounds.

The formula for Warriors Grounds, a combination of single origin coffees, was decided through taste tests by fans. According to the Peet's website, the winning combination is "a heavy-duty blend based on the earthy, syrupy, teak and tobacco-like qualities of Sumatra, plus the balance, full body, and brightness of Java and Papua New Guinea. Another consistent crowd favorite is a sparkling, spicy blend with origins in Latin America. To both of these we added a twist—the same twist—the silky sweet magic of Kenya."

The limited edition blend will be available until May 30. The company will donate 5 percent of the proceeds to the Warriors Community Foundation.

San Francisco Business Times reported that Warriors Grounds made its debut on Wednesday when Peet's gave away 100 free bags of the blend at the final regular season game at Oracle Arena.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Oregon Defensive Lineman Armstead Could be 49ers' Draft Target]]> Thu, 16 Apr 2015 08:58:29 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/ArikofOregon.jpg

The 49ers might trade up. Or, they could trade down. They could take a defensive lineman with their first pick, the 15th overall. Or a cornerback, a wide receiver or an offensive lineman.

In other words, with two weeks to go until Round 1 of the NFL Draft on April 30, we’re not sure what the Niners will do with their first pick.

But in the majority of mock drafts over the past month, one name keeps being linked to the 49ers, over and over again: Oregon defensive lineman Arik Armstead.

With uncertainty still hanging over the 49ers defensive line with the possible retirement of Justin Smith, NFL observers see San Francisco with a need to bring in fresh talent at the position, and Armstead has been judged to be a mid-first-round pick. Analysts Mel Kiper Jr. (ESPN), Lance Zierlein (NFL.com), Nate Davis (USA Today), Pete Prisco (CBS Sports) and Dave Cariello (SB Nation) are among those who have listed Armstead as the 49ers’ selection at No. 15.

Armstead is huge at 6-foot-7 and 292 pounds, with long arms (33 inches) and is very athletic, having also been on the basketball team at Oregon his first two seasons.

He’s not polished, particularly as a pass rusher, but could be a good fit for the 49ers’ 3-4 scheme. He had 46 tackles in 2014, with 2½ sacks, 4½ tackles for loss and 16 quarterback pressures. The NFL.com scouting report on him notes his potential for improvement: “Elite size with ability to add more bulk to his frame. Quick-twitch athlete. Explodes upfield into blockers with good pad level and hip snap, gaining instant leverage against the run and often jarring them into the backfield. Gets good arm extension to control offensive linemen and peppers them with powerful hands. Can unlock quickly from blocks. Has above-average tackle radius thanks to his length and quickness.”

Armstead, who grew up in Sacramento, was listed as one of the 30 athletes scheduled to visit with the 49ers before the draft, noted Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee. The 49ers also met with Armstead at the NFL Combine.

Eric Branch of the San Francisco Chronicle notes, too, that new 49ers head coach Jim Tomsula, the team’s longtime defensive line coach, could be “intrigued” by Armstead’s “vast potential.” Though the 49ers have added Darnell Dockett in free agency and have young pros Tank Carradine and Quinton Dial to contend for playing time, Armstead could be worth drafting for the short and long term.

“Even if Justin Smith returns for a 15th season,” wrote Branch, “the 49ers need to look to the future in assessing their defensive line.”


<![CDATA[Raiders Hope New Safety Allen is Still Improving]]> Thu, 16 Apr 2015 08:57:47 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/183*120/nhatealyne.jpg

New Raiders safety Nate Allen had the best year of his pro career in 2014, intercepting a team-high four passes for the Philadelphia Eagles.

He also was solid in run support, with 70 tackles, and recovered three fumbles.

So, with the draft still on the horizon, Allen, 27, is penciled in by most as the likely starter for Oakland in 2015 at strong safety alongside Charles Woodson at free safety. If camp opened today, Allen's prime competition would be holdover Brandian Ross. Many also believe the Raiders will draft a safety, perhaps in the second or third round.

But Allen has had his critics. Last year, the Eagles’ secondary wasn’t very good, giving up the second-most yards in the NFL, and Allen was a part of that. Philadelphia, after all, decided to move on and allow Allen to depart in free agency.

Marc Sessler of NFL.com, for instance, doesn’t believe Allen will be a big-impact player.

“Too often fried with the Eagles, Allen is hardly a premier safety,” wrote Sessler. “Oakland needs depth at the position, though, making the Raiders a candidate to add more talent through April’s draft.”

But according to Pro Football Focus, Allen is improving.

Pro Football Focus, which grades the performance of NFL players, ranked Allen as the sixth-best safety available in free agency, noting:

“Allen improved in each of the last two seasons following a -13.0 graded 2012. Last season he graded positively in both run defense and coverage while playing primarily as a deep safety, though he also saw snaps near the line of scrimmage and in the slot. Got his hands on six passes … including four interceptions. … That improvement will likely be a focal point for teams and, along with his age (27), may suggest that he still has a chance to reach his potential that saw him picked in the second round in 2010.”

Allen, who played at South Florida, is 6-foot-1 and 205 pounds and has played both strong and free safety in his five seasons with the Eagles. He said he’s excited to play with Woodson.

“He is who he is, a future Hall of Famer,” Allen told the Raiders website. “Just to be able to work alongside a dude like that, I mean I couldn’t ask for a better situation. He’s been around the game for what, 18 years now? This is his 18th year, so he’s seen just about everything and been through just about everything, so I just feel like I have a lot that I can learn from him.”


Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Carson Stadium Project Qualifies for Ballot]]> Thu, 16 Apr 2015 08:00:56 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/179*120/3-26-2015-PetitionDelivery.JPG

An initiative aimed at building a football stadium in Carson, possibly to house the San Diego Chargers and Oakland Raiders, has qualified for the city ballot, backers of the proposal said Wednesday.

Members of Carson2gether delivered more than 15,000 petition signatures to the city last month, and the Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk's office verified that enough of the signatures were valid. A total of 8,059 valid signatures were required to get the issue on the ballot.

The issue will now move to the Carson City Council, which will have the option of either placing the $1.7 billion proposal on the ballot or approving the stadium plan outright.

The Chargers and Raiders announced Feb. 19 they are working on a joint proposal to build a 72,000-seat stadium at Del Amo Boulevard and the San Diego (405) Freeway in Carson if they are unable to strike deals for new facilities in their respective cities.

Going through the initiative process allows the project to avoid lengthy and expensive environmental reviews.

A similar tactic was employed in Inglewood, where the City Council voted unanimously Feb. 24 to approve an initiative allowing for construction of an 80,000-seat stadium planned by St. Louis Rams owner Stan Kroenke at the former Hollywood Park racetrack site. Although Kroenke is behind the project, the Rams have not announced any intention of moving back to the Los Angeles area.

An NFL team has not played in the Los Angeles area since 1994, when the Raiders and Rams relocated.

<![CDATA[Warriors, Fans Gear Up for Playoffs Fever]]> Wed, 15 Apr 2015 23:36:52 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/0415-2015-WarriorsFan.jpg The Golden State Warriors capped off the regular season with a win Wednesday night over the Denver Nuggets and improved to 67-15. The dominant season by the Warriors is one of 10 best in NBA history. Cheryl Hurd reports.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Calgary Flames Defeat Vancouver Canucks 2-1]]> Wed, 15 Apr 2015 22:22:49 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/469873146.jpg

Defenseman Kris Russell scored with just under 30 seconds remaining in the third period, lifting the Calgary Flames to a 2-1 win over the Vancouver Canucks in Game 1 of their first-round playoff series on Wednesday night.

David Jones also scored for the Flames, who were down 1-0 entering the third period. Jonas Hiller stopped 29 shots in the Flames' first playoff game since 2009.

Bo Horvat opening the scoring for Vancouver midway in the second period. Jannik Hansen and Alexander Edler assisted on the play.

Vancouver hosts Game 2 on Friday night.

Russell's shot from the point found its way through traffic after a dominant shift by the Flames that had the Canucks hemmed in deep.

Eddie Lack made 28 saves for Vancouver, which is back in the postseason after missing out last spring for the first time in six years.

Horvat snapped a scoreless tie after Lack, in his first playoff start, made a couple of big saves at the other end. The 20-year-old rookie had his first shot blocked, but his follow-up on the backhand nicked off the skate of Calgary defenseman Dennis Wideman in front and past Hiller.

Calgary, which won 10 games when trailing after 40 minutes in the regular season and was tied for first in the NHL with 99 third-period goals, tied the game midway in the final session. After a soft play by the Canucks at their own blue line, the Flames broke in on a quick 3-on-2 in transition, with Jones roofing a shot over Lack.

The goal came on the heels of a pair of big saves by Hiller.

Notes: Vancouver has not won at home in the playoffs since Game 5 of the 2011 Stanley Cup final against Boston, a span of seven contests. The Canucks had also lost 10 of their last 11 playoff games overall dating back to Game 6 of the series with the Bruins. ... Calgary rookie Sam Bennett — playing in just his second professional game — had a strong chance after cutting out of the corner before being denied by Lack.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Best of the 2015 NHL Playoffs]]> Sat, 18 Apr 2015 20:05:16 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/AP710209314180.jpg The 2015 NHL playoffs are officially underway. Check out these photos highlighting the best teams in the league and their quest to hoist Lord Stanley's Cup.]]> <![CDATA[WATCH: Warriors' Stephen Curry Sinks An Astonishing 77 Straight 3 Pointers]]> Wed, 15 Apr 2015 10:39:00 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/463464160.jpg

The rumors are true.

Golden State Warriors point guard Stephen Curry shot 77 three-pointers in a row during practice on Tuesday in Oakland ahead of the NBA playoffs, which kick off this weekend.

"It was the most he ever made," Warriors spokesman Matt De Nesnera confirmed to NBC Bay Area.

And for those who are counting, de Nesnera added, Curry actually made 94 out of 100 in all.

To compare, Curry's teammate, Klay Thompson told ESPN the most he's ever made is 36 consecutive three-pointers.

Still, apparently Curry didn't set a national record. The top two three-point shooters were amateurs.

According to the National Basketball Shooters Association, then-60-year-old Fred Newman, a Caltech graduate, set a Guinness world record for shooting 209 consecutive three pointers in 1996. And Rick Rosser shot 131 in a row in 2011.

NBA coach Ed Palubinskas confirmed the amateur records to NBC Bay Area, saying that more professional players would make more shots if they just put a scientific approach to it. Still, he noted Curry has a great "feel and touch."

If the shooters association counted pros on their list, Curry's 77 would place him third. "But pros can't complete with us," Palubinskas said with no irony in his voice.

How does Curry do it? He shot a total of 100 three-pointers from five spots around the arc -20 from each spot. He takes 10 at one way around the arc, and then 10 more going back.

The Warriors are the top overall seed in the postseason, and will open Saturday or Sunday at home against New Orleans or Oklahoma City.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[WATCH: Blackhawks Player Surprises Firefighters With Pizza]]> Wed, 15 Apr 2015 10:23:52 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/patrick+kane+pizza.png

What would you do if your favorite hockey player showed up at your doorstep with dinner?

For the guys at the Downers Grove firehouse, they did what they do best and kept their cool despite being massive Chicago Blackhawks fans.

The team has made it a trend to surprise their biggest fans in unexpected ways, and in their latest video from the “What's Your Goal” series Patrick Kane answers the call of Courtney O’Leary – whose goal was to have a Blackhawks player deliver dinner to her husband and his fellow firefighters.

“He is a wonderful husband and an amazing dad and he loves his job as a firefighter/paramedic and he absolutely loves the Blackhawks,” Courtney said of her husband Patrick O’Leary. “It’s my hope that he can be surprised in a really awesome way because no one on this planet deserves it more than he does.”

Watch the video above to see the whole surprise unfold.

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<![CDATA[Niners Show Interest in a Borland-Type Linebacker]]> Wed, 15 Apr 2015 08:14:53 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/baalkedawson.jpg

A year ago, Chris Borland was an acclaimed college linebacker who wasn’t getting much love from NFL talent evaluators.

Though Borland was the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year from Wisconsin, he was thought to be too small and too slow to be a certain success in the NFL. Because of that, the 49ers were able to grab him in the third round – and Borland turned into one of the league’s top rookies, a tackling machine.

Yet Borland retired after one season of pro football over concerns about his long-term health, and the Niners now need to add some talent to their inside linebacker corps because of the loss of Borland and Patrick Willis (also to retirement).

Now it appears the 49ers may be considering a player who is a bit like Borland 2.0.

On Tuesday, the 49ers visited with Paul Dawson of TCU, the Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year this past season, reported Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee. It’s possible that Niners general manager Trent Baalke could take him in the second or third round of this year’s draft, which begins April 30.

Dawson was all over the field for the Horned Frogs, making 136 tackles including 26 at the line of scrimmage or in the backfield. He had four interceptions and 21 quarterback pressures.

But at 6 feet, 235 pounds he’s a bit small for his position. Plus, he turned in a horrible performance at the NFL Combine, where he ran a very slow 4.93 40-yard dash and had a vertical jump of just 28 inches. As the Dallas Morning News pointed out, those numbers were worse than those posted by some defensive tackles. But in a recent pro day performance at TCU, he improved those numbers.

Also, during his first two seasons at TCU, Dawson had some off-the-field issues. He  often was late for meetings and failed a drug test, according to the Dallas Morning News.

But Dawson cleaned up his act and turned into one of the best linebackers in the nation for a TCU program that is known for its defense.

As TCU head coach Gary Patterson told the Dallas paper, the “film doesn’t lie” about Dawson. It consistently shows Dawson ranging all over the field, leveling ballcarriers at the line of scrimmage and having terrific instincts. He always was around the ball.

Some scouts and draft analysts don’t even rank Dawson among the top five inside linebackers in the draft. Yet Mike Mayock of the NFL.com puts him No. 1 overall among inside linebackers. Chase Goodbread of NFL.com noted that Dawson could be available to the 49ers with their 46th overall choice, in the second round, but may be gone by the time of their third-round pick (No. 79 overall).

Recently, Mayock cited a veteran NFL scout who likes Dawson very much in the draft.

“Don’t get off Paul Dawson,” Mayock said the scout told him, according to NFL.com. “Trust your gut.”



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>