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Ex-University of Oregon football player killed in single-car crash, police say

A former University of Oregon football player was killed Friday in a single-vehicle rollover crash in Eugene, KEZI reported.

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Fotu Tuli Leiato, 21, who was dismissed from the team in late April after he was arrested for allegedly removing a parking boot from a vehicle, was killed in the accident.

Police said Leiato’s body was found by a passerby several hours later at the crash scene. The driver of the vehicle, Pedro Chavarin Jr., 22, said he was the lone occupant of the vehicle, KEZI reported.

Chavarin was taken to a hospital and then was cited for DUI, police said.

Leiato, a 5-foot-11, 202-pound linebacker, played in 38 of 39 games for the Ducks from 2015 through 2017 and made 37 tackles.

Former NFL tight end Kellen Winslow II faces rape charges

Former NFL player Kellen Winslow II was arrested Thursday on suspicion of rape, the San Diego Union-Tribune reported.

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The charges against, Winslow, 34, include two counts of forcible rape, one count of forcible sodomy and one count of forcible oral copulation, according to the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department. Other charges include kidnapping with the intent to commit rape, residential burglary and indecent exposure, the sheriff’s department said.

Winslow will be arraigned Friday. 

He was arrested last week on suspicion of burglary, then posted a $50,000 bond, the Union-Tribune reported. Sheriff’s deputies arrested Winslow on his latest charges Thursday morning and searched his home, the newspaper said.

Winslow, the son of San Diego Chargers Hall of Famer Kellen Winslow, grew up in San Diego and attended high school there. He played college football at the University of Miami and was the sixth overall pick in the 2004 draft. 

He played in the NFL until 2013, playing tight end for Cleveland, Tampa Bay, New England and the New York Jets.

Police: Couple faked son's cancer for donations, visit with Syracuse football team

A New York couple is accused of faking a 2017 story about their son having cancer so they could solicit more than $3,300 in donations, the Cayuga County Sheriff's Office said. The couple also used their son’s alleged battle with Hodgkin’s disease so the family could meet the Syracuse football team, Syracuse.com reported.

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Martin and Jolene LaFrance were charged with scheme to defraud and endangering the welfare of a child Friday, according to the Sheriff's Office.

According to deputies, the LaFrances set up a GoFundMe page for their son, CJ LaFrance and collected $3,334 from 42 donors. After a four-month investigation, deputies determined “conclusively” that CJ had not been diagnosed with any medical conditions, Syracuse.com reported.

An archive of the page on Aug. 30, 2017 shows that the GoFundMe campaign had been shared 403 times on Facebook.

Last August, CJ and family members were special guests during a Syracuse football practice, Syracuse.com reported. CJ, who was 9 years old at the time, met his favorite players and coach Dino Babers.

"The LaFrance Family has violated GoFundMe's terms of service, and all donors will receive a refund," GoFundMe officials said in a statement. "Additionally, they have been banned from our platform."

GoFundMe will also be working with New York authorities in their investigation, ESPN reported.

Martin and Jolene LaFrance, both 35, will be arraigned May 16, Syracuse.com reported.

’Mr. Irrelevant’: NFL draft’s final pick has 'big chip' on his shoulder

Trey Quinn said he has “a big chip” on his shoulder, and he is determined to prove his relevance in the NFL.

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Quinn, a wide receiver from Southern Methodist University, was tabbed as “Mr. Irrelevant” -- the final pick in the 2018 NFL draft -- when he was drafted at No. 256 by the Washington Redskins.

It was the first time the Redskins chose the final player in the draft since 1992, when they picked Matt Elliott, ESPN reported.

“There's a big chip on my shoulder, and you'll see it on me, but I'm excited," Quinn told ESPN. “I'm excited to be a part of an organization, and after a long day, I'm kind of stressed out. I'm just excited to be a part of the Skins and go dominate a little bit.”

While quarterback Baker Mayfield won the Heisman Trophy and was the No. 1 pick in the draft, Quinn receives a few perks for being the final pick. He will get a trip to Disneyland, a custom Rolex watch and a trophy that is called the Lowsman -- the opposite of the Heisman, ESPN reported.

Quinn was not irrelevant for SMU. He led the Football Bowl Subdivision with 114 catches in 2017 and scored 13 touchdowns.

"Trey Quinn is a very exciting prospect," Redskins coach Jay Gruden told ESPN. "He caught a lot of balls, did some punt returns. He's a great option route runner, great feel in the zones. Strong hands. Good physical blocker. Good after the catch.”

The final pick bounced around during the third day of draft. It was originally owned by the Falcons. Atlanta traded the pick to the Los Angeles Rams, who subsequently dealt it to Washington, NFL.com reported.

Shaquem Griffin's inspirational story not limited to football fans

Shaquem Griffin’s story is an inspirational one, and it moved to another level after he was drafted by the Seattle Seahawks in the NFL draft. His legion of well-wishers continues to grow.

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Griffin, who was drafted in the fifth round, received encouragement and best wishes from players and fans on Twitter. 

The outside linebacker had his left hand amputated as a child because of amniotic band syndrome, but was a two-year starter at the University of Central Florida and was a first-team all-conference selection both seasons. 

He was reunited with his twin brother Shaquill when the Seahawks made him the 141st overall pick. That brought Griffin full circle from the NFL scouting combine, when he bench-pressed 225 pounds 20 times with a prosthetic left hand.

"I couldn't breathe," Griffin told ESPN said after he was drafted. "I didn't know what to say. I was trying to get the words out, but I couldn't talk."

Griffin’s well-wishers included pro athletes and people who have faced the same hurdles as the linebacker. They were joyous in their posts.

“Thrilled for you,” former major-league pitcher Jim Abbott, who was born without a right hand, wrote on Twitter. “Beyond words.”

“So grateful for this moment!!!” Twitter user Gienelle wrote, showing a picture of her son displaying a prosthetic left hand. “This pick is powerful for my boy!! His dreams just went through the roof!! “

Chris Pugh, whose daughter lost fingers to amniotic band syndrome, called Griffin “inspirational.”

“No matter what team he plays for, I'm a big Shaquem Griffin fan,” he wrote.

Drew Carfrae, a Steelers fan from Iowa who said he used a wheelchair, wrote that “to see someone that other people would say had a ‘disability’ prove doubters wrong, is amazing.” 

“Cheering and crying that his dreams came true,” wrote Amy Eldridge, whose son has one hand. 

Twelve-year-old Julianna Linton was born with amniotic band syndrome and posted a video before the draft. She also got to meet Griffin when the Knights played Houston in 2016.

On Twitter, Griffin thanked “everyone who has helped push me, motivate me and support me. Most importantly, thank you Seahawks.”

Florida Atlantic hosts youth football camp to benefit Parkland shooting victims

As the South Florida community continues to recover from last month’s shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, Florida Atlantic University football coach Lane Kiffin is lending his hand to help.

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Kiffin, the second-year Owls coach who led FAU to an 11-3 record last season, announced Friday night that the team’s April 7 practice at Fort Lauderdale’s Carter Park will also serve as a benefit for Stoneman Douglas. FAU will also hold a youth camp from 1:15 to 2:15 p.m for students in kindergarten through eighth grade.

All proceeds from the practice, which will also feature a $5 raffle for a three-night stay at the Boca Resort and $20 for the youth camp, will go to the Stoneman Douglas victims and their families.

Gunman Nikolas Cruz killed 17 students and faculty in a Feb. 14 mass shooting before being arrested later that day. Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty for Cruz, 21, who is being held at the Broward County Jail. Cruz’s younger brother, Zachary, was arrested last week for trespassing at Stoneman Douglas.

Students returned to class on Feb. 28 and are currently on spring break. Several Stoneman Douglas football players attended Thursday’s practice at FAU on unofficial visits, but did not speak to media because of NCAA regulations.

Stoneman Douglas currently has several former student-athletes on FAU teams, with senior baseball pitcher Jake Miednik graduating from the school in 2014. Miednik’s younger sister was in class during the shooting but escaped unharmed. Former Eagles offensive lineman Nick Weber was added to the football team as a walk-on last August.

Miednik threw six shutout innings against George Washington in a 3-0 win on Feb. 16, just two days after the shooting and hours after attending the funeral of a family friend who was killed in the massacre.

“I’d like to say that everyone during that incident, everyone’s in my heart and prayers,” Miednik said that night. “It’s unfortunate what happened and I’m praying for everybody, praying for all the victims, and I just want to say ‘God bless to everyone.’ ”

Alabama QB Jalen Hurts pays off bet, wears Auburn jersey

It’s easier to pay off a bet when you have a national championship in your pocket.

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On Thursday, Alabama quarterback Jalen Hurts wore the jersey of the Crimson Tide’s bitter rival, Auburn, on campus, ESPN reported.

Hurts had made a bet on Nov. 14 with Auburn alumnus Charles Barkley before the Iron Bowl game between the two Alabama universities. 

"Jalen Hurts challenged me to a bet, and I ain't forgot it, Jalen," Barkley said that day. "I'm either going to wear an Alabama jersey on TV, or he's going to have to wear (an Auburn jersey) on campus. ... I've got the jersey coming.

"My Tigers need to win because I don't want to wear that crap on TNT."

Auburn stunned No. 1 Alabama 26-14, handing the Crimson Tide its only loss of the season.

Hurts paid off the bet Thursday, as the school posted a video on its Twitter feed.

"What's up, Charles," Hurts said. "Obviously, I'm a man of my word. And first off, I'd just like to congratulate Auburn and the Auburn family on their successful season this year. But I think it's time I get to class. I'm running kind of late for English."

Hurts added a “Roll Tide” before walking away.

While Alabama lost to Auburn, the Crimson Tide qualified for the College Football Playoff games and won the national title with a 26-23 overtime victory against Georgia.

Kid from ‘The Blind Side’ now works for Arkansas football team

Sean “SJ” Tuohy Jr. has not been blindsided by fame. In fact, he has embraced it.

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Tuohy works for University of Arkansas coach Chad Morris, but many remember him because of the character portrayed by Jae Head in the 2009 movie “The Blind Side.”

"Everyone wants me to stay as this 11-year-old kid," Tuohy, an assistant director of football operations, told KATV. "Some people think I 'Benjamin Button'-ed it, never aged or went backwards. I think it's disappointing to someone when I say ‘That's me.’ ‘Oh man, I thought you were much smaller and cuter!’”

“The Blind Side” is the story of Michael Oher, an impoverished youth adopted by the well-to-do Tuohy family. Oher went on to a successful career as an offensive lineman at the University of Mississippi and the NFL, most notably with the Baltimore Ravens.

Tuohy continues to have a good relationship with his adopted brother.

"You look back at it and think, I wasn't really like that, that's not how it was. (But) that's what it was like," Tuohy told KATV. “(Michael) excelled in football, he excelled in basketball, everyone socially loved him. He was someone you look at like, 'Man, I hope I can be like that one day.'"

Tuohy shed some light on the film, which starred Sandra Bullock in the role of his mother and Tim McGraw as his father. Quinton Aaron played Oher in the film.

He said Bullock’s characterization of his mother, Leigh Anne Tuohy, was accurate, but was only a capsule version.

"She's much worse in real life than Sandra Bullock was in the movie,” Tuohy told KATV. “That was two hours of my mom. Think about that as a 24-hour day, all the time."

Bullock won an Academy Award for her portrayal of Leigh Anne Touhy.

Tuohy said the movie sometimes was a curse, adding that he’d often be taunted while playing high school sports.

"'Good job, Sandra,' chants and I remember we were warming up one time playing a school in football and they played the whole 'Blind Side' soundtrack before the game,” Tuohy told KATV. “I can't control any of that stuff and just laugh it off."

Wrong guy: Ohio man tabbed as Tennessee coach on Twitter enjoying the notoriety

An Ohio man has gained notoriety in recent weeks, thanks to a college football coach with the same name.

Jeremy Pruitt of Dayton was mistaken on Twitter by football fans as being the new coach of the University of Tennessee football team, The Knoxville News Sentinel reported. Another Jeremy Pruitt was named Tennessee’s football coach on Dec. 7.

The mix-up began in November, when rumors emerged that Pruitt the football coach was rumored to be a candidate for the Mississippi State University football job before he took the Tennessee position.

A mistaken Mississippi State fan reportedly sent the Pruitt from Dayton a message on Twitter, prompting him to then tweet about the mix-up.

“No way I’m getting tweeted about accepting the Miss State coaching job lol,” Dayton’s Pruitt wrote.

A columnist at the Tuscaloosa News then retweeted the tweet to his thousands of followers, causing Dayton’s Pruitt to receive dozens of tweets from Mississippi State fans, most of whom realized the mix-up.

Since then, Pruitt has gained thousands of followers on Twitter and he has jokingly changed his profile and cover photos to include Mississippi State logos and images. Pruitt has told news outlets that he is originally from Columbus and is actually an avid fan of Ohio State University.

Along with his explosion of online followers, Dayton’s Pruitt has also received mentions on TV from ESPN and on the sports website SB Nation.

And the “other” Jeremy Pruitt? Here is his introductory news conference when he was named the Vols’ head coach:

Legendary sportscaster Keith Jackson dead at 89

Keith Jackson, whose Southern drawl and homespun, folksy phrases endeared him to college football fans for more than half a century, died Friday night, ESPN reported. He was 89.

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Jackson died surrounded by his family, according to NBC Sports' Todd Harris.

Born in Roopville, Georgia, on Oct. 18, 1928, Jackson was also the first play-by-play broadcaster for “Monday Night Football” when it debuted in 1970 and covered a wide range of sports. He was known for his signature phrase “Whoa, Nellie!” after a big play. Jackson said the origin of the phrase came from his great-grandfather. He also coined the phrase “Big Uglies,” and christened Michigan’s football stadium “The Big House,” ESPN reported.

Jackson called 15 Rose Bowl games and was credited with calling the New Year’s Day game “The granddaddy of them all,” The New York Daily News reported. The final game he broadcast from Pasadena was the 2006 game in which Texas rallied to defeat USC for the national title.

Jackson was named national sportscaster of the year five times, the Daily News reported.

Jackson spent four years in the Marines and later graduated with a journalism degree from Washington State University, where he broadcast the team’s games.

He joined ABC’s college football announcing team in 1966, but also called NBA games, auto racing and was a staple on ABC’s “Wide World of Sports.” He also announced World Series games, 10 Olympics and traveled to 31 countries, ESPN reported.

Jackson also had fun playing off his signature phrase, as this commercial for Miller Lite demonstrates:

Tributes to Jackson rolled in on Twitter:

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