Raiders Blog and Q&A

News, observations and reader questions about the Oakland Raiders

April 26, 2009
Cable stands by his picks

ALAMEDA - The Raiders will do things their way, whether you like it or not.

Their seven draft picks include some names that probably left you doing a lot of research. Tom Cable offered no apologies for that.

"Well, the first thing you have to know about me is, I don't need to stand up and beat my chest and say, 'The hell with everyone,'" Cable said. "I'm going to probably take a statement, if you will, from Bill Walsh. When you find a player you want, go get him. Don't worry about it. Go get him. And that's what I did. I'll take the heat for that. We've since had people coming back apologizing, turning on film and saying, 'Oh, my god, well this guy was going to Chicago, and they admitted that they were going to take (safety Mike Mitchell) at 49. So, it makes some people look pretty foolish now. But, the bottom line is, I kind of live by that statement from coach Walsh. When you find the one you want, go get it. Don't let anyone detract you and don't worry about what they say."

*The Raiders didn't draft a defensive tackle to help the run defense. Here's Tom Cable's explanation:

"The run game is kind of addressed a couple of ways. I think that we've gotta coach better and clean up some things in terms of what we're doing, system-wise. I think we've addressed that by the coaching staff we've hired. And then we've got to get better at the linebacker spot. And when I say better, I mean more depth there. That's really a key for us. You look what happens who we lose a guy, and then we kind of have to piecemeal it together. So this gives us a chance to not have that issue. Mitchell definitely upgrades us if any of you have taken the time to look at him now and see what he is physically. We feel a lot better about it. So we've got some good tackles on this football team. They've gotta play like it."

*The Raiders drafted three players listed as defensive ends. Two of them, Slade Norris and Skylar Sulak, will play linebacker for the Raiders.

I asked Cable about that because it seems like it's asking a lot for players that played defensive line to become linebackers and play in space.

Here's what the coach said:

"You know, Jason? You're seeing more and more of that out of the 4-3 teams. That Sam or Will linebacker that on third down's putting his hand on the ground. We actually did a little study. There's a tremendous amount of guys that are making that transition, standing up on first and second down and putting their hand down on third. That's really all over the league now, and some of the very good pass rushers are like that."

*Cable was happy about landing Louis Murphy. And though he played in the spread (the offense that made the likes of Michael Crabtree not as valuable) Cable said Murphy played on the outside, not the slot.

I think this was the Raiders' best pick of Day 2 and could prove to be their best selection in terms of value and production.

*As most of you know by now, this is my last day on the Raiders beat. I'll take a week or so off and reappear as a beat writer for the Sacramento Monarchs and Sacramento Kings.

I've had a lot of fun covering the team I rooted for as a child back in Long Beach. Trying to list all the players and coaches I've enjoyed working with would take a while, but I'll try, whether they were starters or players on the practice squad.

The QBs: Aaron Brooks, Daunte Culpepper, Josh McCown, JaMarcus Russell, Marques Tuiasosopo, Andrew Walter

The RBs: Michael Bush, Zack Crockett, Justin Fargas, Justin Griffith, Darren McFadden, LaMont Jordan (a fellow WWE fan), Oren O'Neal, Marcel Reece

The WR/TEs: Johnnie Lee Higgins, Drew Carter, Javon Walker, Randy Moss (he really was fun when he was in a good mood), Zach Miller, Courtney Anderson

The OL/DL: Langston Walker (Cal guy, of course), Robert Gallery, Jake Grove, Mario Henderson, Kwame Harris, Warren Sapp, Derrick Burgess (one of the funniest players I've ever dealt with), Kevin Huntley, Jay Richardson, Tommy Kelly, MK Bruce

The LBs: Kirk Morrison, Thomas Howard, Ricky Brown, Danny Clark, Jon Alston, Jon Condo, Sam Williams, Marquis Cooper, Isaiah Ekejiuba

The DBs: Nnamdi Asomugha (Cal, of course), Stuart Schweigert, Michael Huff, Charles Woodson (cool in my first year as a backup writer on the beat), Chris Johnson, DeAngelo Hall, Stanford Routt, Fabian Washington, Rashad Baker (update, how could I forget my man Jarrod Cooper).

Coaches: Tom Cable, Rob Ryan, Don Martindale, Lane Kiffin (I know most of you hate him but I got along fine with him), Art Shell, Don Turner, Keith Millard, Greg Knapp, Tom Rathman.

I can't many of the writers I've been around since 2005 who dealt with my Laker fandom, Cal Bear cheering and my love for Dodger blue.

I know I missed a lot of people. But hey, I'm doing this off the dome.

Thanks to all that have sent your well wishes. Maybe you'll catch me at a Raider game ... in the stands? Now that would be weird.

Well I'm gone. Take care, Raider Nation. Who knows, you might have to deal with me again in the future.

--Jason Jones

April 26, 2009
Round six wrapup

ALAMEDA - Barring any more trades, the Raiders are done with the 2009 NFL Draft.

The Raiders dealt this year's seventh-round pick and their sixth round choice next year to Carolina for a sixth round pick (202th overall) that was used on Iowa tight end Brandon Myers.

Two picks earlier the Raiders selected Missouri defensive end Stryker Sulak.

Sulak (6-5, 250) was an All-Big 12 selection and had his best season as a senior. He had 55 tackles 15.5 tackles for loss, 10.5 sacks and led the NCAA with six forced fumbles.

Here are his results from the NFL Combine:

40 Yard Dash : 4.77 seconds
Bench Press : 22.0 reps
Vertical Jump : 31.0 inches
Broad Jump : 113.0 inches
3 Cone Drill : 7.31 seconds
20 Yard Shuttle : 4.58 seconds

Sulak's 40 time was sixth among defensive linemen.

Myers (6-4, 250) was a first team All-Big Ten pick by coaches and tied for the team lead with four touchdowns. He is considered a blocking tight end.

--Jason Jones

April 26, 2009
Fourth round selections

ALAMEDA - The Raiders went with more speed in the fourth round.

First, the Raiders took Florida wide receiver Louis Murphy (124th overall). Two picks later the Raiders selected Oregon State defensive end Slade Norris, who is projected as an outside linebacker.

Murphy (6-2, 203) played in the spread offense and was on the Florida track team. He caught 38 passes for 655 yards and seven touchdowns. He ran the 40 in 4.43 seconds at the combine.

Finding info on Norris (6-2 ½, 236) isn't as easy. He doesn't have a bio on

He started his career as a safety before moving to outside linebacker and became a situational pass rusher as a junior. He started every game as a defensive end last season and had 10 sacks.

He ran the 40 in 4.65 seconds.

--Jason Jones

April 26, 2009
More on the latest pick

ALAMEDA - Here's some more info on DE, Matt Shaughnessy, the Raiders' third-round pick:

*Honorable Mention All-Big Ten

*Broke his right fibula last spring, but started 13 games as a senior. Finished with 40 tackles, four sacks and eight tackles for loss.

*Tore his left ACL in 2005.

*Reportedly not an explosive player off the edge that does a good job of affecting quarterbacks with his long arms.

Here are his combine numbers:

40 Yard Dash : 4.95 seconds
Bench Press : 24 reps
Vertical Jump : 30.5 inches
Broad Jump : 112 inches
3 Cone Drill : 7.68 seconds
20 Yard Shuttle : 4.88 seconds

--Jason Jones

April 26, 2009
Raiders take DE in round 3

Wisconsin defensive end Matt Shaughnessy is the first pick of the day for the Raiders. More on him later. I have to head over to team headquarters.

--Jason Jones

April 25, 2009
More on Mike Mitchell

ALAMEDA -- Randy Moss was the player first-round pick Darrius Heyward-Bey was compared to. Second-round pick Mike Mitchell, a safety from Utah, was likened to Ronnie Lott and Jack Tatum.

Mitchell, said he's knocked three opponents out cold.

"I remember being a young kid and watching, not NFL Network but ESPN classic, my dad and I would watch old films of Jack Tatum and Ronnie Lott and he'd say, 'that's how you play football,'" Mitchell said. "So from a young age, I knew it was about hitting and being physical. I definitely model myself after those two individuals. I like to impose myself on other people. Obviously, I think I'm a good guy in coverage, I can get interceptions and return the ball when I can, but if there's an opportunity, I usually take my shots, but if I get a shot to hit you, then I'm going to try and knock the person out."

Mitchell will compete for a starting job. This could also mean Michael Huff could be dealt tomorrow.

Mitchell wasn't invited to the Combine but had several visits with teams. He said his agent, Brian Hamilton, told him he might be selected today after being considered a late-round pick.

Not being invited to the Combine motivated Mitchell.

"I'd been a starter for three years and had good numbers," he said. "Coming from a small school, those voters are going to see the guys that come from the USCs, the Missouris, the Texas's, and those guys because they think those guys are the best players. I'm just so excited, I feel 100 percent blessed by God to have this opportunity, because not only did I get drafted, but I showed that, hey, maybe you should start looking at these small school guys too."

Cable said Mitchell might be the hardest hitter in the draft. You can see some of his exploits here:

"When you see some highlights of this guy, and they cut him up, you're going to see a guy that reminds you, and I don't want to put too much pressure on the guy, but he has that Ronnie Lott, that Jack Tatum mentality," Cable said. "He literally knocks people out. Knocks the pile back, knocks runners backward, knocks receivers backward. Very smart football player."

Cable didn't sound bothered by criticism that the Raiders picked Heyward-Bey and Mitchell too high.

That Mitchell hits hard and runs fast (4.43 40-yard dash) were key factors for the Raiders. So they took Mitchell two or three rounds before most thought he'd go.

Cable said he and owner Al Davis are on the same page.

"One of the things that Mr. Davis and I discussed was that I want to very much have a plan," Cable said. "I want to really approach this that there were specific needs to our football team and the best player to fit those needs has been our goal. It wasn't so much do they fit numbers or whatever that is. Certainly, there are some parameters here as an Oakland Raider. You have to be able to run. You have to bring something to the table. But I think the thing that worked out for us is we were all on the same page, that we went at it, we were going to make sure we filled needs for our football team, and regardless of what anyone says, it's OK. I don't know who you're watching (on TV that is being critical), but the guys were good, the feedback I got."

--Jason Jones

April 25, 2009
Raiders make a trade

ALAMEDA -- The Raiders made a trade with New England.

The Raiders traded the 40th overall pick to the Patriots for the 47th pick, and a fourth-round pick (124th overall) and sixth-round pick (199th overall).

The Raiders have used their second-round pick on safety Mike Mitchell from Ohio.

--Jason Jones

April 25, 2009
Quick Q&A with Heyward-Bey

ALAMEDA--Here's some quotes from the conference call with Darrius Heyward-Bey.

On going ahead more touted receivers:

Going ahead of those guys, it's an honor just to be the first guy taken. But being able to play in the pro-style offense at Maryland and taking that to the NFL, I'll take that. And I don't know why I moved ahead of those guys, but definitely the Raiders saw something in me.

On his stats that aren't exactly impressive:

People will look at that, but looking back to the games that we had at Maryland and my years playing, you look back at the Cal game, I had a chance to show people what I'm capable of doing. At Maryland what we do is, we run the ball to set up the pass. I'm the type of receiver, I catch, block, hustle and just work hard. So college you didn't see those numbers, but definitely at the next level you're gonna see a little bit more.

(Heyward-Bey had two catches for 59 yards with a 27-yard touchdown against Cal).

Heyward-Bey talking about his favorite team growing up:

My favorite team growing up, being in the DC-Baltimore area I always looked at the Ravens when they got here in the past decade. But always in the back of my mind, I was saying this to someone earlier, the Oakland Raiders was always the team, especially in this area, you always kept it to yourself but that was the team you loved. You loved that Silver and Black. You go out there and get that jersey. Everybody has that Oakland Raiders jersey. Definitely being in the DC area, the local teams but the Raiders were beyond none when compared to everything else.

Here are some more numbers on Heyward-Bey for you to play with:

*He ran the 40 in 4.23 seconds in 2006. His 4.30 at the combine was the fastest among receivers.

*His career highs in receptions (51), games (13) and yards (786) came in 2007. Heyward-Bey's stats for last season (42 catches, 609 yards, 14.5 ypc) were career lows.

His 38.5-inch vertical leap was fifth among receivers at the combine. Heyward-Bey is definitely a good athlete as he was a top performer in all the tests at the combine.

*Most of the draft analysts are ripping the Raiders for taking Heyward-Bey so high. The knocks on him are that he's not a good route runner (Cable says he's the best of the available WRs) and his hands.

--Jason Jones

April 25, 2009
Cable on the draft pick

ALAMEDA - Here's some quotes from Tom Cable on the Raiders' choice of Maryland WR Darrius Heyward-Bey:

On Heyward-Bey only having 13 receiving touchdowns in three season compared to 41 by Michael Crabtree in two seasons:

Different systems. If you put the spread system at this level, it doesn't really exist. Those numbers would be dramatically different. I think the one great comparison that I did that really showed this was the right guy for me, if I put him in that same system, he might have been over 50 touchdowns. He's that talented.

On passing on Virginia tackle Eugene Monroe:

There's a reason we have Mario Henderson here and Khalif Barnes, Erik Pears, Cornell Green. That may be something we do later in the draft, we'll see how the day unfolds and obviously tomorrow, but the biggest need on this football team is to get someone to score points and obviously when you look at wh at I just said, his ability to do that and make everyone better around him, we've got to score points to win football games.

On concerns about Heyward-Bey's inconsistency catching the ball:

There was some talk about that early, that they were inconsistent. But as we did a breakdown over the last two years, much greater consistency that way. He did a great job at his workout. His workout was phenomenal, just phenomenal. He caught everything at the front end of it, did a great job of being able to react and adjust his body to some tough catches and really kind of sold you on it. Because you started to see some of those things that scouts mentioned earlier, that he could do those awkward things.

If Heyward-Bey was the top-receiver in the draft:

He's the only guy that came out of a true pro-style system. Everyone else was in a spread system. So, his learning curve is much, much shorter than those other guys. Then you got that size, that speed and his ability to go get it. The thing that jumps out at you, this is the one guy at the combine who, at the 30-yard mark, actually changed gears. And there was a whole other warp speed, if you will.

--Jason Jones

April 25, 2009
Info on the newest Raider

ALAMEDA -- Here are a few notes on WR Darrius Heyward-Bey, whom coach Tom Cable likened to Randy Moss:

*Started 12 games last season and ranked ninth in the ACC at 50.8 receiving yards a game. He scored six touchdowns (one rushing).

*He had two plays of 75 yards or longer and had 609 receiving yards. He had a career-high 11 catches for 101 yards on Oct. 18, 2008 against Wake Forest.

*Heyward-Bey had 13 touchdown catches in three seasons and averaged 15.1 yards a catch.

*Cable said the Raiders considered moving up to select Heyward-Bey because the team was worried other teams would move ahead of them for Heyward-Bey.

More to come later.

April 25, 2009
The pick is ...

ALAMEDA -- Darrius Heyward-Bey, the fastest receiver in the draft.

He played at Maryland and is a player that the team probably could have traded down and still selected Heyward-Bey.

He ran the 40-yard dash in 4.3 in at the NFL Scouting Combine but wasn't dominant. He only had more than five catches in a game once last season.

The Raiders passed on the top-2 receivers in the draft (Michael Crabtree, Jeremy Maclin) and one of the elite tackle prospects in Eugene Monroe.

No, this isn't a joke.

--Jason Jones

April 25, 2009
Raiders on the clock

ALAMEDA -- The Raiders are in position to fill a need at WR or OT.

Virginia OT Eugene Monroe is still available as is Michael Crabtree.

Who do you want?

April 25, 2009
Jets trade up for Sanchez

ALAMEDA -- The New York Jets traded up to select USC quarterback Mark Sanchez.

Receivers Michael Crabtree, Jeremy Maclin and offensive linemen Andre Smith and Eugene Monroe are still available.

--Jason Jones

April 25, 2009
So far...

The Raiders will definitely be in position to land one of the top receivers or offensive linemen.

Through four picks only one offensive tackle has been selected with Baylor's Jason Smith going No. 2 to St. Louis.

Now we wait to see if Cleveland selects Michael Crabtree.

April 24, 2009
Predicting the future

Taking a cue from my boss (and colleague Matt Barrows) I'm taking a shot at predicting who the Raiders might nab in each round. I'm positive I'm off on several fronts because who really knows the mind of Al Davis?

Well here's what I think might be a good day for the Raiders.

Round 1 (seventh overall selection)

Michael Crabtree, WR, Texas Tech

Reports are Crabtree's attitude (not his foot injury) has potential suitors like Cleveland souring on the draft's top receiver. That should mean little to the Raiders who need a player that has shown he can be a playmaker. I like the idea of taking a franchise-type tackle like Eugene Monroe or Andre Smith. But if Crabtree is available the Raiders should make him the pick.

Round 2 (40th overall)

Phil Loadholt, OT, Oklahoma

The Raiders get lucky and a solid tackle prospect is still available. If things work out Loadholt starts at right tackle Week 1 and gives Tom Cable a very talented player to groom.There's no way the Raiders can go past the second round without addressing the offensive line.

Round 3 (71st overall)

Michael Johnson, DE, Georgia Tech

A freakish athlete (6-7, 266, 4.75 40-yard dash) that could be the eventual replacement to Derrick Burgess as soon as 2010.

Round 4 (126th overall)

Michael Hamlin, SS, Clemson

The Raiders find someone to add to the mix with Michael Huff, Tyvon Branch and Hiram Eugene.

Round 7 (216th overall)

Mike Wallace, WR, Mississippi

Why another receiver? He ran the 40 in 4.33 seconds and averaged 20.1 yards a catch.

*I didn't select a tight end or defensive tackle, but there's only so much you can do with five picks. Don't be surprised to see the Raiders try to add another pick via trade.

I can't wait to see how wrong I am tomorrow.

--Jason Jones

April 20, 2009
What about the defensive line?

I'm back from basketball (for a little while) with the NFL Draft five days away.

I received a nice e-mail from Roy who questioned my sanity for not listing defensive line as a top-5 priority in today's Bee.

He's tired of seeing everyone run through the Raiders defense. And how can drafting a defensive lineman not be a bigger priority than depth on the offensive line?

Allow me to explain myself.

I've long contended the Raiders could use help up front. But in putting together my list, I took into account what the Raiders are likely to do.

In re-signing William Joseph and adding Ryan Boschetti, the Raiders (whether you like it or not) believe they have addressed their needs at defensive tackle. And with Derrick Burgess, Jay Richardson, Trevor Scott and Greyson Gunheim back, those are four defensive ends the Raiders like.

And if the Raiders passed on Glenn Dorsey to address offense last year, I have no reason to believe they'd pass on a big-time tackle or receiver for B.J. Raji this year.

Whether you like it or not, the players the Raiders already have are going to have to play better.

A defensive lineman wouldn't be a stretch later in the draft. I just expect the team to address the offensive needs and their hole at safety first.

So Roy, I'm not crazy. Just trying to be practical.

It's my last week covering the Raiders so I look forward to having some fun in the days before and during the draft.

--Jason Jones

April 8, 2009
Garcia on being a Raider

Checking in from NBA-land...

Below is a transcript from new Raiders quarterback Jeff Garcia's appearance on "Movin' The Chains" on SIRIUS NFL Radio on Tuesday.

On signing with the Oakland Raiders:

Jeff Garcia: "That was really a major decision. First of all, there weren't a whole lot of opportunities coming my way this off season but when the Raiders expressed interest and just the fact that it would keep my family and myself in California, bringing me back to the Bay Area where I grew up, it was pretty much a no brainer. It was one of those things where I was just excited to get back to the Bay and being closer to family, friends, all those comfort zones and being with the team I grew up watching, really enjoying that part of growing up and seeing the great players that came through Oakland, wanting to be a part of that history and hopefully make a difference in some way."

Host, Pat Kirwan: "Did you get the chance to just sit with Al Davis alone and talk about football?"

Garcia: "Well, I spoke with Al over the phone. I didn't come up to meet with them prior to really my commitment as of this week. I committed over the phone. It wasn't one of those wine and dine type of deals. I'd been here two years ago before I signed with Tampa [when] Oakland was somewhat in the picture and that's when I came up and personally met with Al and talked football with him and talked about some of the great history of the Raiders. Obviously, seeing that within himself and how's he's been such a major part of that especially in that past and wanting to get the team headed back in that direction, the right direction. It's difficult to say what has happened over the past few years but I just know personally from my own standpoint having grown up in the South Bay Area and watching the Oakland Raiders throughout my life and remembering some of the great years with the Ken Stablers, the Jim Plunketts, the great defenses, the characters that were a part of this team, the team has somewhat lost that and they need to find that and bring it back."

Host, Tim Ryan: "How are you going to handle mentoring JaMarcus Russell from the sidelines?"

Garcia: "Well, I think it's already being established right now. I'm up here in Oakland right now taking part in the quarterback school with Jamarcus and Bruce Gradkowski and we're working on just the fundamentals of playing the position, the leadership qualities that you have to have, the work ethic, getting in the weight room. I think JaMarcus, being able to see how myself and how Bruce work as far as what we do in the classroom, what we do in the weight room and what we do on the field, it's something positive for him to see. I don't think he's had those types of guys around him to help him push him or help him understand what it takes to be a true professional at this level. The guy is tremendously skilled, he's huge and we just want to get him into a position where he can be better on the field if he is physically better and mentally sharper. I think those are things he's starting to see right now with me being involved this week and hopefully it's just something where the relationship continues to build. And we're going to help him as much as possible by pushing him in a positive way. At the same time I'm going to do everything I can do to make sure that I'm prepared in case I do get that opportunity or in case something were to happen that I take advantage of that opportunity and make the most in trying to help this team win football games."

On head coach Tom Cable:

Jeff Garcia: "I think Tom is just a no nonsense guy. He's a straight shooter which I really appreciate about him. He's not going to BS anybody. He's going to tell you how it is. He's going to lay it out for you exactly how he wants to see it. I think that him being a former in-the-trenches type of guy he has a running mentally. We have great running backs here in Oakland. That's going to be the type of personality this team is going to carry. It's going to be a smash mouth type of personality and I think that's great for the quarterback position in the sense that it's something that we can build off of with the passing game. Being able to utilize those running backs and utilize their capabilities and their abilities is only going to enhance and help the QB's when it comes to throwing the football down the field."

Host, Tim Ryan: "How about the accountability of a lot of the young guys on the football team? Knowing you and how you work if guys aren't holding up their ends of the bargain, and guys aren't accountable, and the young guys aren't taking their playbooks home, and guys are running the wrong routes, you're not going to tolerate it are you?"

Jeff Garcia: "That's something that just can't be tolerated especially at this level. You know yourself, having played the game for so many years, what it takes to be successful. You have to take advantage of every opportunity whether that's studying at home or being at the facility early or staying late, whatever can give you that edge, and for everybody to understand that it's so important. That's the only way that you are able to win football games especially when it comes to bringing the young guys up to another level. I don't know everybody yet in the facility. It's one of those things where I feel my way out at first, get to know that players, get to know the personalities. And then at some point it's about stepping up the level of commitment and hopefully we can do that by demonstrating what's right and it doesn't need to be said. But if something has to be said then there's a way of approaching it that doesn't put off an individual but instead brings him on and that's the way that I feel like I've always looked at things and always have tried to approach things. I don't want to create any sort of separation. I want to create togetherness and that's what it takes in order to be successful on the field."

Note: Notice Garcia didn't mention Andrew Walter as one of the quarterbacks around? Perhaps this means Walter will get the trade he's sought since 2007.

--Jason Jones

April 3, 2009
Mocking around

I took part in a couple of mock drafts this week. It's always fun playing the role of general manager.

In both cases Michael Crabtree was off the board. So I chose between Missouri WR Jeremy Maclin and Alabama OT Andre Smith.

In both cases I went with ... Smith.

I wouldn't be shocked if the Raiders selected Maclin. I think he's very similar to Johnnie Lee Higgins (though he is bigger) and has good speed. But I'm holding Tom Cable to his word that upgrading the protection around JaMarcus Russell is a top priortiy.

There are questions about Smith's maturity , but he could start at right tackle for the Raiders as a rookie.

If rumored interest from Cincinatti in Smith is true and he's gone at No. 6, I'd expect Maclin to be the pick.

*Some of you probably noticed I haven't been blogging as much lately and that my name even showed up on a Sacramento Kings story. That's because I'm in the midst of transitioning to covering basketball at The Bee.

I'm not sure exactly when I'll no longer be following the Raiders full-time. But I'll do my best to keep updating things while I give myself a crash course in the Kings, the NBA Draft and all that is basketball related.

Oh yes, this should be fun for someone raised on Laker basketball.

--Jason Jones

About Raiders Blog and Q&A

Matt Kawahara was born in Sacramento and attended McClatchy High School and UC Berkeley, where he wrote for the independent student paper The Daily Californian. He graduated from Cal in 2010 and started at The Sacramento Bee as a summer intern. He joined The Bee's sports staff in fall 2011.

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