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In 2011, when I blogged at TucsonCitizen.com, I put together the top 10 list of badasses in Arizona football during the Wildcats’ Pac-10/12 existence. To this day, it has developed somewhat of a cult following with even some former Arizona players talking about it.

The story is one of the most popular this growing Web site has produced receiving at 1,200 likes on Facebook.

Former linebacker Scooby Wright III was the latest entry in the list in 2014. He embodies the characteristic of a badass that is synonymous with how the Desert Swarm played at the time of his birth. In fact, Wright was born on Aug. 28, 1994, the same week Sports Illustrated ranked Arizona No. 1 and labeled the Wildcats as “Rock Solid”. Five members of the Desert Swarm, including College Football Hall of Famer Tedy Bruschi, were on the cover.

The dictionary definition for “badass”:
badassdefinition

Bruschi was a badass similar to Wright, both of whom were under the radar when it came to recruiting during their high school careers in northern California. Wright is Arizona’s greatest sack threat since Bruschi and he recorded 29 tackles for lost yardage this season, second in school history.

Where does Wright, war paint and all on his face, rank among his badass brethren? Here are the top 10 rankings for offense and defense:

NO. 10
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OFFENSE: NICK FOLES, QUARTERBACK (2009-11)
Former Oregon coach Chip Kelly once labeled Foles a “warrior” after Foles stomached five sacks and still completed 34 of 57 passes for 398 yards in the Wildcats’ 56-31 loss to the Ducks on Sept. 24, 2011 at Arizona Stadium. “I catch myself watching him in awe sometimes,” Kelly said. “Nick is a hell of a football player. That kid’s a warrior. He’s as good as anyone in the country.”

Jimmie Hopkins served in the Army after his football playing days at Arizona (Hopkins photo)
Jimmie Hopkins served in the Army after his football playing days at Arizona (Hopkins photo)

DEFENSE: JIMMIE HOPKINS, DEFENSIVE END (1990-93)
Hopkins opted out of spring practice in 1993, leading up to the season that the Wildcats finished 10-2 and beat Miami in the Fiesta Bowl. What’s so badass about that, you say? Hopkins missed spring practice because he joined the Army. His goal was to become an Airborne Ranger. And he later did serve in the military. Hopkins, overshadowed on the defensive line by Rob Waldrop, Ty Parten, Tedy Bruschi and Jim Hoffman, remained on campus, rejoined the team for fall drills and was an important contributor to the Desert Swarm defense.

NO. 9
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OFFENSE: DENNIS NORTHCUTT, WIDE RECEIVER (1996-99)
Northcutt, Arizona’s season receiving yards leader, caught eight passes for 121 yards and a touchdown in Arizona’s 31-24 win over USC in Tucson when he was a senior in 1999. That was only half of his contribution to the Wildcat victory. Also playing cornerback, Northcutt virtually shut down USC receiver R. Jay Soward, according to an Associated Press report of the game. Northcutt was on the field for 90 plays. As a freshman in 1996, Northcutt switched from cornerback to tailback to wide receiver to tailback to defensive back to receiver. He had two interceptions against Illinois that season, returning one 63 yards for a touchdown.

TyParten
“He gave the pregame players-only scream down. When we left that room, we knew it was gonna be a war.” — former Arizona offensive lineman Eric Johnson said of Ty Parten (pictured), who gave a rousing pre-game speech before Arizona lost at No. 1 Miami 8-7 in 1992.

DEFENSE: TY PARTEN, DEFENSIVE TACKLE (1989-1992)
The Godfather of Arizona’s famed Desert Swarm defense arguably is Parten. As a senior captain in 1992, he lit a flame under the Wildcats (reeling from a 1-1-1 start) as they prepared to play on the Orange Bowl turf against top-ranked Miami. One of his teammates, offensive lineman Eric Johnson, once said: “He gave the pregame players-only scream down. When we left that room, we knew it was gonna be a war.” Arizona coach Dick Tomey sent the entire team to midfield for the coin toss and Miami answered by sending all of its players. Words were exchanged. The Wildcats, with Parten at the forefront, did not back down an inch.

NO. 8
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OFFENSE: HICHAM EL-MASHTOUB, CENTER (1991-94)
El-Mashtoub, a 295-pound center born in Beirut, Lebanon, and raised in Montreal, was viewed as reckless, engaging in a few fights during his Wildcat career. `If you’re not careful, he’ll put one right past you,” former Arizona offensive lineman Warner Smith told Anthony Gimino in an Arizona Daily Star article in 1994. “He’ll make people do what he wants them to do without them knowing it.” El-Mashtoub had a crucial fourth-quarter personal foul when he came off the bench and decked a tackler on the sideline after freshman Gary Taylor returned a kickoff to the 31 in the Cats’ 24-20 loss at California in 1993, a defeat that cost Arizona a spot in the Rose Bowl. El-Mashtoub was held out of the Hancock Bowl at the end of the 1993 season for fighting with a teammate in the locker room after a practice.

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DEFENSE: BRANT BOYER, LINEBACKER (1992-93)
Brant Boyer embodied the merciless image of Arizona’s Desert Swarm defense as a team captain in 1993. Boyer, a senior inside linebacker, talked tough and played that way. The Wildcats lost 8-7 at No. 1 Miami in 1992 in what was the coming-out party for the Desert Swarm. When Arizona was afforded the chance for a rematch in the Fiesta Bowl, Boyer did not hold back.
“This program will be on a new level,” Boyer was quoted as saying by the Miami Herald three days before the game. “When we beat Miami, it’s going to be a different story.”

NO. 7
RobGronkowski
“As a coach, sometimes you try to put players in that situation — you try to break them down, you can see how much they can take — but Rob has a lot of resilience and a lot of physical and mental toughness.” — New England coach Bill Belicheck commenting on his All-Pro tight end Rob Gronkowski

OFFENSE: ROB GRONKOWSKI, TIGHT END (2007-08)
Gronk can make this list by his name alone, but there is more to his badass image than that while at Arizona and now with the New England Patriots. The play that introduced Arizona and its fans to Gronkowski’s toughness happened a month into his freshman season in 2007. His 57-yard touchdown hookup against Washington State was Gronk-esque. Gronkowski caught the pass from Willie Tuitama at the Wazzu 31, bounced off a defender like a battering ram, Stan Mataele Jersey For Sale
almost lost his footing at the 10, and reached the end zone to give the Wildcats a 41-20 lead. New England coach Bill Belicheck told the NFL Network about Gronkowski: “Rob works very hard. He comes early, he stays late. He’s very physically and mentally tough. You can’t really get him down, you can’t break him. He can really fight through it. As a coach, sometimes you try to put players in that situation — you try to break them down, you can see how much they can take — but Rob has a lot of resilience and a lot of physical and mental toughness.”

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Training academy graduates 13

South County Fire recruits

South County Fire will have 13 new faces.

In total, 30 recruits graduated in December from the Snohomish County Fire Training Academy’s 14-week program.

Jonathan Bailey, Anthoy Casanas, Brendan Cleary, Tracy Finch, Kyle Johnson, Everard Lewis II, Karl Long, Julian Markfield, Keenan Metcalfe, Daniel Nelson, Thomas Perillat, Ryan Scott and Michael Swanson will join the South County agency after additional weeks of training.

Bailey and Nelson were recognized with the First Whip award for leadership. The award dates back to when fire apparatuses were drawn by horses. The first whip was the driver and the captain’s most trusted helper, a news release said.

Sky Valley Youth Coalition awarded by Seahawks and Boeing

Some 30 kids from Sultan’s Sky Valley Youth Coalition were treated to an MVP experience at the Seahawks game on Dec. 22.

Free tickets, food vouchers, swag bags, sweatshirts, a pre-game buffet and a visit from former Seahawk Rico Tipton were the prizes for the Legion of Youth 2019 honor.

The program from the Seahawks and Boeing recognizes students who are committed to their school, demonstrate leadership and are active in their community, a news release said.

The Sky Valley Youth Coalition is a branch of the Volunteers of America Western Washington.

Money raised for Snohomish Veterans of Foreign Wars

More than $1,400 was raised for local veterans by about 180 guests at an inaugural dinner, Dining Out, for the Snohomish National Guard 176th Engineer Company.

The money raised last month goes to local veterans and their families through the Soldiers and Family Readiness Group of the 176th Engineer Company and Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 921 in Snohomish.

Farlan Dubarry was the guest of honor, and spoke about his experiences storming Okinawa, Japan in April 1945. He described how the 96th Infantry Division made an assault landing on the Hagushi beaches of Okinawa. Within three days the group overcame all resistance in the large Sunabe Hill mass which dominated April 1, 1945, while motivating current soldiers to have integrity and live the Army values.

For more information about the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 921, contact Tom Kreinbring at [email protected]

Arlington Fire collects 11,000 pounds of food

During the Arlington Fire Department’s annual Santa Run, firefighters, their families and Santa collected more than 11,000 pounds of food and $2,213 in donations for the Arlington Community Food Bank.

This year’s total set a record for the 30-year-old tradition.

The drive runs for 10 nights in December, when firefighters and their families escort Santa through town on a decorated fire truck.

“From the bottom of our hearts, thank you, citizens of Arlington, for your incredible good will and generosity,” Chief Dave Kraski said.

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The “NFL 100 Greatest” series is airing on NFL Network from Weeks 2-11 of 2019, the NFL’s 100th, with two, one-hour episodes airing back-to-back each Friday night and will count down the greatest across five categories: Plays (Sept. 13 & Sept. 20), Games (Sept. 27 & Oct. 4), Characters (Oct. 11 & Oct. 18), Game-Changers (Oct. 25 & Nov. 1) and Teams (Nov. 8 & Nov. 15).

The NFL and the Associated Press (AP) came together to select the 100 greatest in the five categories, comprising an 80-person blue-ribbon panel. In addition to the rankings, NFL Films conducted more than 400 interviews with celebrities, current NFL stars and Legends.

The Vikings had five plays make the list of No. 51-100 that aired Sept. 13, including the “Miracle at the Met,” which occurred Dec. 14, 1980. Last week, the “Minneapolis Miracle” landed as the ninth-best single play ever.

The Miracle at the Met refers to the 46-yard touchdown reception by Ahmad Rashad, who corralled a Hail Mary pass by Tommy Kramer that was tipped by Browns safety Thom Darden for a 28-23 Vikings victory.

It turns out the action that happened before the final snap of the day was good enough to get that game into the top 100 of all-time. It landed at No. 96 overall.

The Vikings trailed 13-0 in the third quarter when Kramer connected with Joe Senser for a 31-yard touchdown. The PAT was no good, however.

The Browns added a 32-yard field goal, and the Vikings followed with one from 24 yards later in the period.

Cleveland, which needed to win the game in order to win the AFC Central, then took a 23-9 lead midway through the fourth quarter on a 1-yard run by Cleo Miller.

Kramer led the Vikings 72 yards on five plays, finishing the drive with a 7-yard touchdown pass to Ted Brown, but Rick Danmeier’s extra point kick was blocked.

Long before the 2-point conversion was added to the NFL rule book, the 23-15 deficit meant that the Vikings would need two scores to win.

Bobby Bryant intercepted Brian Sipe at the Cleveland 41 with 2:18 remaining, and the Vikings again scored in five plays, with Kramer finishing the drive with a 12-yard pass to Rashad. Danmeier’s PAT was good, making it 23-22, but the onside kick was unsuccessful.

Minnesota’s defense forced a punt, and the Vikings were helped when the ball reached the end zone for a touchback.

That left just 14 seconds to go 80 yards.

Grant and Offensive Coordinator Jerry Burns turned to a play developed by assistant coach Les Steckel, who coached receivers, tight ends and the kicking game from 1979-83 before being hired as Vikings head coach in 1984.

The ink in Steckel’s pen was frozen on this day when the temperature was 23 degrees Fahrenheit with a Wind Chill of 11 at kickoff, so he rehashed the patterns and details in the dirt on the sidelines. He named the seldom-practiced play Squadron Left 50 Hook & Lateral (not “ladder” as it’s sometimes mistakenly called) in the Vikings playbook.

On the sideline, the always-colorful Burnsie told Grant the plan was to run ‘Les’ [expletive] play.’

It involved a bit of deception and misdirection, with placing receivers Rashad, Sammy White and Terry LeCount along the right side of the formation. Senser was in-line to the left of the left tackle, and running back Ted Brown stood in the backfield, right of center.

Senser was instructed to delay his release before running a hook route, and Brown also was instructed to delay before starting toward the right then heading underneath Senser’s hook pattern.

“Teddy Brown ran over and wanted to make sure I wanted him to delay and come out the back side opposite of where Joe Senser was,” Steckel told Vikings.com during a phone interview in 2018. “It was something I had never seen before, but I was confident it was going to work.”

Kramer was supposed to look to the right, moving defenders toward the receiving trio before firing to Senser on his left.

As intended, Senser caught the ball and pitched it back to Brown as the running back hit full stride, angling for the sideline. Brown made it to the Cleveland 46 and stepped out to stop the clock with four seconds remaining.

Steckel said he had a high level of confidence in Senser and Brown being able to execute their aspects of the play and leave enough time for one more snap.

“[Brown] understood why I wanted him to go out to release outside away from where Joe was, so they never saw him coming,” Steckel said. “Once Tommy went back and looked to the Squadron side with Terry LeCount, Ahmad Rashad and Sammy White, then he turned to throw the ball to Joe … I knew Joe would catch the ball and wisely lateral the ball.

“When he did, Teddy timed it perfectly and caught the lateral and ran up the field enough for us to just heave it down the field for a Hail Mary,” Steckel added.

The Vikings use of 11 personnel (one running back, one tight end, three receivers) that season was ahead of its time and came in handy in the clutch.

Minnesota kept the personnel on the field for the final chance, again lining the receivers in the Squadron to the right.

Kramer dropped back and heaved the ball from his own 47-yard line. Darden tipped it at the Cleveland 5. Rashad secured it and stayed on his feet, gracefully back-stepping his way into the end zone.

Rashad’s silky-smooth concentration, reflexes and coordination sent Metropolitan Stadium into a frenzy and the Vikings back to the playoffs via the 11th division title under Head Coach Bud Grant.

Players received $5,000 bonuses for winning the NFC Central, which they wrapped up in the next-to-last week of the regular season.

NFL Films interviewed Rashad for the episode. His recollection follows:

“It was freezing cold. I don’t think I went out for warmups — just wait, and go out there and play when the game starts,” Rashad recalled. “It was a very exciting game.

“Tommy Kramer called this play Squadron Right, and it was a play where it was a Hail Mary play, and in my mind, that play was all about me. I remember taking off when he called the snap. I was running, and I hear the crowd started to roar. I start picking up speed, thinking he must have thrown the ball. I look up and hear the people cheering, and I see no ball. I look on the other side of the field, and I see our running back running out of bounds. All I know now is I can barely breathe, and when I get back to the huddle, they call the same play again.

“I see the defender jump up and tap it. As I go by, I just reach out and grab it and then just kind of tip in for the touchdown, and it was over. Years later, people remember the Miracle at the Met, and to the better part of that, it’s just one of life’s true highlights.”

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Getting To Know: Ricardo Mathews
Ricardo Mathews Defensive End University of Cincinnati 7th Season Who is your football mentor or inspiration?This dates back to my rookie year with the Colts and it would be Antonio Johnson. He showed me the ropes from both sides, inside the locker room and off the field. He taught me how to be a veteran at a young age and it’s pretty much stuck with me. This will be my seventh year in the league and I took all his words to heart.

**

PHOTOS: Steelers sign Ricardo Mathews
Steelers agreed to terms with DL Ricardo Mathews on a one-year contract. Photos by AP.

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What motivates you?**
The most-high power motivates me. Positivity, love, my teammates motivate me. Anything positive.

What is your football mindset?I approach it like every day is my last. I approach it as a professional, first and foremost. I approach it as being a positive role model to younger kids, to inspire them in ways that everybody else can’t. I always want to be positive, give a positive look to the public eye.

Why do you play football?
I do it because I love it. I do it because I’ve been doing it for a very long time. It’s kind of second nature now. Not as long as some of these guys, but long in my book. I play it to also to provide for me and my family.

What is your proudest football moment or memory?
Probably in college my senior year, last game of the season against the University of Pittsburgh. We were down 30 some points and we actually came back and won. That was the first time ever in history that the University of Cincinnati went 12-0 for a regular season. That was a really proud moment of mine. Being on that team, being one of the leaders.When you hear Steelers football, what do you think?Steel Curtain. I think of six championships. I think of the best organization in football. This is a privilege playing for this team. I think of it as an honor they took me on. It’s all good, I’m here, and I’m trying to get number seven.** Wat do you like about Pittsburgh? *I haven’t really gotten a chance to really go out and explore yet. I know this is definitely one of the best fan bases I’ve ever been around. I’ve only been here a couple of months, but there have already been a couple people who noticed me and it’s just kind of weird a little bit but something to get used to.

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US Department of Homeland Security officials will share individual citizenship data with the Census Bureau, according to a recent privacy notice from the department.

It’s an undertaking assigned by President Donald Trump, who last summer announced the administration would abandon its effort to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census form after a legal battle that ended up in the Supreme Court.

Trump ordered the Census Bureau to compile citizenship data through existing government data, known as administrative records.

The records from US Citizenship and Immigration Services and Customs and Border Protection will match up with other demographic data the Census Bureau and Commerce Department capture on each citizen and individual in the country.

The expected result is detailed statistics on where voting age citizens live. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said that in the 2010 Census, officials were able to match administrative records with 88.6% of the population. A similar rate would leave about 27 million people for whom the Census Bureau must make an estimated guess about citizenship status.

The Justice Department requested the data to enforce voting protections. But disclosures in lawsuits revealed the involvement of a consultant who found re-drawing congressional districts while taking into account citizenship would be “advantageous to Republicans and Non-Hispanic Whites.”

The administrative records are also being challenged in a lawsuit that accuses the President and Ross of being “motivated by a racially discriminatory scheme to reduce Latino political representation and increase the overrepresentation of non-Latino Whites, thereby advantaging White voters at Latino voters’ expense.” The government has asked a federal court to dismiss that lawsuit.

The DHS notice was first reported by the website Federal Computer Week.

It was published in mid-December and says there is “no opportunity to consent to sharing or opt out of having an individual’s information shared.” Census officials face prosecution for sharing an individual’s personal data or making other unauthorized disclosures.

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Let’s wrap up this year’s “Ballers & Busters” and put a bow on it. In a season with ups and downs, it ended with a lot more lows than highs. But even while losing five of their last six games, and squandering a golden opportunity to sneak into the playoffs (the loss to the Jaguars), there were many positives. So, as (almost) always, we will list those positive performances before moving on to the negatives.

Top Baller: RB Josh Jacobs

Seven times over the first nine games Jacobs was named a “Baller.” The final two of those times, he did it with a broken shoulder. Then he did it two more times, still nursing that broken shoulder. He was twice a “Top Baller.” Eventually, his season would be cut short by the injury, but not before he ran for 1150 yards, just eight yards shy of the fifth-best rushing mark in franchise history. He surpassed the best rookie rushing mark by midseason. He is the odds on favorite to be named Offensive Rookie of the Year.

Baller: DE Maxx Crosby
Crosby was seeing few snaps in the first quarter of the season, but once the Raiders cut him loose, he exploded. He was named a “Baller” eight times over the final 12 games of the season, and thrice a Top Baller. He just got better as the season went on too. Five of his Baller nods came over the final seven games even while the Raiders only managed two wins over that time. He finished with 10.0 sacks on the season, just a half-sack away from tying the franchise rookie record set by Greg Townsend way back in 1983.

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Broncos safety Will Parks joined CBS4 sports anchor Michael Spencer at The ViewHouse Centennial for Xfinity Monday Live.

CENTENNIAL, Colo. (CBS4) – Will Parks and the Broncos fell 23-3 to the Chiefs on Sunday.

“I’m 0-8 against the Chiefs. It is what it is at this point, it just sucks. You do a lot of work to get ready for a team like that. It’s a learning experience, what we can take away from that is basically, when the opportunity presents itself again you have to take advantage of it,” said Parks of the defeat.

Safety Will Parks of the Denver Broncos sacks quarterback Philip Rivers of the Los Angeles Chargers during the first quarter at Empower Field at Mile High on Dec. 1, 2019.
Safety Will Parks of the Denver Broncos sacks quarterback Philip Rivers of the Los Angeles Chargers during the first quarter at Empower Field at Mile High on Dec. 1, 2019. (credit: Justin Edmonds/Getty Images)

Parks and Spencer also discussed his recent sack of Phillip Rivers, which was the first sack of Parks’ career.

“The year before that I got him on an interception,” recalled Parks. “Hall of Fame guy, great guy, we all knew that. It was pretty cool,” said Parks of his first sack.

Parks and the Broncos will host the Lions on Sunday and look to pick up their sixth win of the season. The Broncos will end the regular season when they host the Raiders on Sunday Dec. 29. Both games can be seen on CBS4.

If you’re looking for a job at the new Orillia Recreation Centre, an event Wednesday is for you.

The city’s parks, recreation and culture department will be hosting a job fair at Rotary Place from 4 to 7 p.m.

The department typically holds the job fair to attract potential employees to summer positions, but with the recreation centre set to open later this month, “it’s a unique opportunity,” said Jack Mair, the city’s aquatics and fitness supervisor.

There will also be information available for those looking to apply for summer jobs.

The city is looking to fill about 70 positions in aquatics at the rec centre.

“Lifeguarding is our No. 1,” Mair said, but noted other positions are available.

Visitors to the job fair are asked to bring their résumés and, if they wish, cover letters, as there will be an opportunity to apply on site.

“They will be able to interact with the supervisors who are doing the hiring for these positions,” Mair explained, describing the job fair as “something for anyone seeking local employment in their community.”

The city is still finalizing job postings and hopes to have a list posted here over the next few days. There will be an opportunity to apply for those positions online.

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Retired Delta Air Lines captain John Bailey still has flying in his blood.

He admits every time an airplane goes overhead, he looks up.

“My mother said that I wanted to be a cowboy at first, but as I recall, even before college I think I wanted to fly,” Bailey reminisced.

Bailey eventually did so, first in the U.S. Air Force during the Vietnam War and then for Delta Air Lines as one of the few black pilots who earned their wings in the years following the Civil Rights movement.

PLANES IN HIS ROOM, PLANES IN THE SKY
As a child, Bailey was fascinated by flying. Airplanes hung from his bedroom ceiling at a time when flying was all but reserved for the military and for people who could afford the price of commercial flights.

Bailey received an officer’s commission in the U.S. Air Force, a common route for many would-be aviators who sought a career in a cockpit, but a medical examination almost kept him on the ground.

“This airman who gave me the physical, I don’t think he liked me,” Bailey laughed. “He said I had sickle cell anemia, he said I had poor eye acuity, poor eye accommodation, on and on.”

The results forced Bailey to work as a logistics officer. However, his time on the ground was brief, thanks to an invitation from his commanding officer to play basketball. After the game, the officer asked Bailey why he wasn’t on flight status. Bailey pointed to the results of his physical.

“You don’t have sickle cell anemia,” Bailey recalled his colonel’s response. “You couldn’t run up and down this court the way you did if you had sickle cell anemia.”

A new examination confirmed the colonel’s on-the-court test of the young pilot, and soon, Bailey was back on flight status. His Air Force career included 120 combat missions and hundreds of hours in the cockpit.

However, Bailey knew his future as an aviator would eventually lead him to a career as a commercial airline pilot.

“It’s more humdrum, flying passengers and flying through weather, as opposed to being shot at, so it’s much nicer,” he joked.

FROM THE AIR FORCE TO DELTA
Bailey’s commercial career began at a time when few black pilots flew for airlines. Racial discrimination in the 1950s and early 1960s kept commercial cockpits as whites-only. In 1957, Marlon Green, a U.S. Air Force pilot, applied for a job with Continental Airlines, only to be denied after the airline discovered he was black.

Green’s subsequent lawsuit led to a 1963 U.S. Supreme Court decision that found he was the victim of discrimination. The landmark ruling broke the color barrier for commercial pilots, and the following year, American Airlines became the first commercial airline to hire a black pilot. Continental would eventually hire Green in 1965.

In 1968, Delta Air Lines hired its first black pilot, Sam Graddy. Though Bailey, then in the U.S. Air Force, never met Graddy at that time, his name was almost legendary.

He was “bigger than life,” Bailey said of Graddy. “I’d heard about Sam, even in Vietnam.”

Bailey called Graddy to discuss several job offers from competing airlines. The two spent an hour on the phone, and later met in person for dinner. Bailey recalled Graddy left him with an unforgettable piece of advice.

“Black pilots fly with white pilots every day, but they fly with a black pilot maybe once in a lifetime. It’s up to you to establish a degree of comfort in the cockpit, so they’re comfortable flying with you,” Bailey recalled from his meeting with Graddy, “Let them know that you’re just another pilot.”

Bailey followed his mentor as a new Delta pilot. The two even flew together, which Bailey remembered as a “great time,” though he admits he was nervous because “I wanted to prove myself.”

“Imagine the thought of flying with the Sam Graddy,” Bailey said with a smile on his face.

Bailey flew numerous planes for Delta in his nearly 30 years as a pilot. One of them, the Spirit of Delta, is now on display at the Delta Flight Museum, within sight of an exhibit honoring him and Delta’s other pioneering black pilots and crew members.

He took CBS 46′s Tracye Hutchins on a tour of the plane, which is mostly a museum itself, but the cockpit is still the same as Bailey remembers.

“It’s a gorgeous airplane, it really is,” Bailey said as he looked over the Boeing 767 and its glass cases of Delta flight memorabilia from prior decades.

INFLUENCING THE PILOTS OF TOMORROW
Now retired from Delta, Bailey hopes his experience will convince more people to follow in his footsteps as a pilot. He speaks to students about careers in commercial and military aviation, from pilots to mechanics and air traffic controllers.

“It’s important now that we get kids interested in flying,” Bailey said. “It appears the magic, the mystique of flying, isn’t there anymore and we’ve got to somehow convince more kids to want to become pilots.”

Government and industry statistics show aviation remains mostly dominated by older white men. The average age of a licensed pilot is nearly 45 years, according to the General Aviation Manufacturers Association. Nine out of 10 pilots are white men, data from U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics shows, and fewer than one in ten are blacks or women.

These statistics are something Bailey hopes to change by encouraging more people to pursue aviation careers.

“It’s not just African-American pilots,” he said, “I want more female pilots, I want more Asian pilots. As one of my kids said, the airplane doesn’t know your skin color, it’s just an airplane.”

At Delta, two pilots made history at the airline in 2017 by being the first black women to make up the cockpit crew on one of the airline’s main flight routes.

Capt. Stephanie Johnson and First Officer Dawn Cook flew an Airbus A320 from Detroit to Las Vegas in February of that year. Johnson had already made history as Delta’s first black female captain.

“There were no pilots in my life growing up, and I think I’m the first person in my family to graduate from college,” Johnson said in a video on Delta’s website. “But for as long as I can remember, I have been fascinated with airplanes and would think, ‘What a great thing it would be to know how to fly.’”

Such milestones are a source of pride for Bailey as he looks back on a long career and a future he hopes will be filled with pilots who shared his dream as a child.

“I do remember asking myself, why me, why was I selected to do this? Maybe a few years ago, after I retired, I thought, why not me,” Bailey said, “I’ve worked hard, I deserve it. That’s what I tell [students], why not you?”

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Throwback Thursday: The time a rookie punter held out for a whole season

Josh Keatley
June 27, 2019 7:32 am ET
When most people think of holdouts they think of superstar skill-position players like Emmitt Smith, Eric Dickerson or Kam Chancellor. The fact is a punter doesn’t really come to mind, let alone a rookie punter. And it happened with the Browns.

The Cleveland Browns selected Ohio State’s Tom Skladany at No. 46 overall in the 1977 NFL Draft. Thanks to his hardheaded agent, Howard Slusher, Skladany never put on a Cleveland uniform.

Way back before the rookie wage scale, it was not completely unheard of for a rookie to sit out an entire season or never see a snap with the team that drafted him. Kelly Stouffer and Cornelius Bennett in 1987, both traded by their original teams halfway through their rookie seasons, are good examples. Even star Bo Jackson re-entered the 1987 draft after sitting out all of 1986. Even though the names above are extremely notable, the first rookie ever to sit out an entire season was Skladany.

Drafting a punter in the second round was high even for 1977, but Skladany was the first specialist in Big Ten history to be offered a scholarship. He left Ohio State with three All-America selections and the school record for longest field goal at 59 yards. So clearly he was worth the second round selection, but in classic Cleveland fashion, Browns owner Art Modell couldn’t get his name on the dotted line.

Skladany’s agent was another Ohio State graduate in Slusher, the man loathed by NFL owners because of his reputation of having his clients hold out. Modell once called Slusher the No. 1 thorn in pro football’s side. The Skladany holdout made an impact on how Cleveland handled the 1978 draft too. If a rookie is selected and never shows up, he is eligible to re-enter the next draft, and that forced Cleveland in a mad dash to try and find not only a trade partner but also a team willing to pay Skladany what he wanted.

Skladany had to be dealt by May 2 or he would have been eligible for the next draft and Modell apparently had a number of teams inquire. A deal was reportedly close with the Los Angeles Rams that would have given the Browns a pair of second-round selections, but they couldn’t swallow his giant price tag and that caused the Browns to scramble for a suitor deep into April. Eventually the Detroit Lions snagged Skladany for a much less-impressive third-round pick in 1978 and seventh-rounder in 1979. After this debacle, Modell swore to never draft a Slusher client again.

Not only did Cleveland lose out on a great punter, they went back to the well at that position during the 1978 draft. Cleveland selected punter Johnny Evans out of North Carolina State in the second round; yes, the Browns took another punter in the second round and he struggled, lasting three seasons as a Brown before moving on to the Canadian Football League.

Skladany ended up being a stud in Detroit, earning All-Pro honors four seasons in a row before he and Slusher decided to hold out again during the 1982 season. After that year, the Lions refused to budge and forced Skladany out. He only contributed in seven games that season with a noticeable drop in production. He was signed by the Philadelphia Eagles in 1983; he injured his back, was released after the season and failed to land with an NFL team again. Most felt that the reason he failed to land anywhere else was Slusher being so tough to work with.

It is a situation that would happen only to the Browns, and Skladany’s career is a perfect example of how important and impactful having the right agent can be. After Skladany was released by the Eagles, Modell said it was a shame what happened and noted that he would have likely had a longer career had he signed with Cleveland after being drafted.

Leo Araguz Jersey For Sale

OAKLAND — With a quarter of a century of Raiders home football coming to a conclusion Sunday, the number that comes after 252 is zero.

I’ve covered 252 Raiders games at the Coliseum since 1995. There were 48 exhibition games of which I remember almost nothing, expunged immediately from my brain as being the pointless exercises they were. Five postseason games, of which the Raiders won four. And 198 regular-season games, of which the Raiders won 94 and lost 104, with No. 199 coming up Sunday against the Jacksonville Jaguars.

I did miss one game in 2003. My 6-year-old son needed a hospital visit after an asthma attack and croup and wasn’t released until 6 a.m. Sunday. The Raiders lost 27-24 in overtime to the Jets that day. Since the game was blacked out locally, a common occurrence at the time, I never did see it.

I do remember senior executive Bruce Allen and CEO Amy Trask both calling me the next day to make sure he was OK. He was fine and outgrew the asthma. Sixteen years later, the Raiders have outgrown the Coliseum.

Truth be told, for the most part I saw a lot of bad football in a special place.

If your standard of being a “good” team is a winning record, I’ve seen four good teams in 24 years, with the Raiders needing to win two of their last three to get to five in 25.

It was nothing like my youth, my dad taking me to my first Raiders game in 1968 when I was 10 years old. Daryle Lamonica was the quarterback for the Raiders, Marlin Briscoe for the Denver Broncos and the roar of the crowd was unlike anything I’d ever heard at a baseball game.

My dad eventually scored some seasons tickets into the early 1970s so I was able to see a lot of great Raiders teams. Was standing in the end zone concourse when Clarence Davis made the “Sea of Hands” catch against the Dolphins. Used to argue with friends in high school who thought Roger Staubach was a better clutch quarterback than Ken Stabler. (No chance).

By the time the Raiders left for Los Angeles after the 1981 season, I’d disengaged, having chosen a media path in college and settling in as an unbiased observer.

When the Raiders came back after 13 seasons, I went from general assignment jack-of-all-trades to mostly covering the Raiders, which has been my primary responsibility ever since.

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The team was seldom as good as the one I saw in my youth other than a three-year run ignited by Jon Gruden from 2000 through 2002 and then one outlier in 2016 under Jack Del Rio.

Local Raiders fans, however, kept rising to the occasion at their much maligned venue.

Raiders fans look different, sound different and are more diverse than any other in the NFL. It’s the best tailgate spot in the NFL (good luck duplicating that in Las Vegas) and the hard core among the fan base turned out despite getting comparatively little in return from the team they worshiped eight times a year.

They hung in there despite an owner in Al Davis who was a Hall of Famer but no longer the seer and icon who helped shape the sport. They instead got a man chasing his own mortality, hiring nine coaches in 21 years in an attempt to stay relevant before his death in 2011.

Yet that didn’t shake their most serious fans, who remembered Davis for the good, set aside the bad and embraced the organization under his son Mark as he tried to hire the right people to pick up the pieces.

For that, what came to be known as Raider Nation deserves praise and a salute, without getting into city, county and stadium politics.

Twenty memories from a team and organization that became a bigger part of my life than I’d ever imagined:

A fan gets a head start on saying goodbye in last week’s loss to the Tennessee Titans. Nhat V. Meyer/Bay Area News Group
1. The whole back-to-Oakland seeds were planted on Aug. 26, 1989, when the Raiders hosted an exhibition game against the Houston Oilers. Tickets sold out instantly. Totally insane parking lot scene. Todd Christensen getting standing ovations in pregame warmups. The Oilers won. No one cared.

2. An unexciting but significant 17-7 win over the San Diego Chargers to open the 1995 regular season. The Coliseum and its fans took center stage in their return to Oakland.

3. Andre Rison catching a 33-yard touchdown pass from Elvis Grbac as time expired as the Raiders lost to the Kansas City Chiefs 28-27 on Monday night in Week 2 of 1997. Coach Joe Bugel couldn’t even address the media, leaving it to cornerback Albert Lewis.

4. The Chargers and Raiders combining for 28 punts (17 by Leo Araguz, 11 by Darren Bennett) in 1998 and somehow winning when third-string quarterback Wade Wilson completes his only pass of the day — a 68-yard, third-and-10 pass to James Jett on a play called “Bingo Cross.” The Raiders win 7-6.

5. The Raiders beating a playoff bound Tampa Bay team 45-0 in Week 15, putting both Tyrone Wheatley and Napoleon Kaufman over 100 yards rushing and looking like they might be on to something the next season.

6. Cornerback Tory James intercepting a Jay Fiedler pass and returning it 90 yards for a touchdown on Miami’s first possession in the Raiders first playoff game since their return to Oakland following the 2000 season. Still the loudest I’ve ever heard the place. The Raiders won 27-0.

7. Baltimore defensive tackle Tony Siragusa bellyflopping on Rich Gannon the next week, injuring his shoulder in the AFC Championship game. The Ravens win 16-3 and go on to win the Super Bowl.

8. Tim Brown, owner of more catches than anyone in Coliseum history with 393, catching his 1,000th career pass with his mother in attendance in a 26-20 win over the Jets on Dec. 3, 2002.

Tim Brown is the all-time leader of receptions at the Coliseum with 393. Mercury News file photo
9. Charlie Garner dragging his injured leg out to his car on a Friday at the team facility, then somehow playing the next night against the New York Jets in the playoffs after the 2001 season. He rushed for 154 yards and had an 80-yard touchdown run. Jerry Rice found the fountain of youth with nine receptions, 183 yards and a touchdown. The Raiders win 38-24. They go on to play the New England Patriots the next week on the road and . . . well, you know what happened.

10. Charles Woodson coming off a six-week absence with a cracked bone in his shoulder, being asked to cover Terrell Owens one-on-one and giving up 12 receptions for 191 yards in a 23-20 overtime loss to the 49ers in 2002. That wasn’t the amazing part. Woodson faced the media afterward and steadfastly refused to consider his injury and layoff as an excuse. It told you as much about the man as any of his successes.

11. The Raiders beating the Tennessee Titans 41-24, confetti falling at the Coliseum and the Raiders winning the AFC Championship and returning to the Super Bowl. After that . . . never mind.

12. Brett Favre passing for 399 yards and four touchdowns the day after learning of the death of his father on Monday night as the Packers annihilate the reeling Raiders 38-7 on Dec. 22, 2003.

13. Gruden coming back to town in 2004 with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Raiders jumping to a 30-6 lead en route to a 30-20 win. Gannon, NFL MVP in 2002, injures his neck in a collision with Derek Brooks in the first quarter and it ends his career.

14. Art Shell returning to the sidelines in 2006 and the Raiders looking shockingly inept in all phases in a 27-0 season-opening loss on Monday night. Got more bitter Raiders fan posts on a first-year “Inside the Raiders” blog than at any other time.

15. The Raiders losing 38-26 to the Chargers in the 2011 regular-season finale, missing the playoffs at 8-8, and coach Hue Jackson airing out his team in the aftermath and promising to make changes in the organization. Mark Davis, who assumed control following his father’s death on Oct. 8, has other ideas. Jackson is fired.

Derek Carr calls for help after breaking his leg after being sacked on Christmas Eve, 2016. Jose Carlos Fajardo/Bay Area News Group
16. The lone exhibition memory — Derek Carr throwing three touchdown passes in the first half against the Seattle Seahawks in the preseason finale in 2014 and winning the job as starting quarterback from Matt Schaub.

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17. An 0-10 Raiders team gets its first win despite a Sio Moore-Khalil Mack sack dance which causes Justin Tuck to call a time out with the Raiders leading 24-20. Hilarity in the press box. The Raiders hold on.
18. Charles Woodson announces his retirement to the media during the week, and the Raiders beat the Chargers 23-20 in overtime on Christmas Eve, 2015. Woodson makes an emotional speech to the fans following the game.

19. With the organization rejuvenated under Del Rio and poised for an AFC West title and maybe more, Carr is sacked and suffers a broken leg in a win over the Indianapolis Colts on Christmas Eve, 2016. They lose the division title to Denver the next week, then are blown out in the wild card game.

20. The 2019 season opens with a 24-16 win over the Denver Broncos, with Carr completing 22 of 26 passes for 259 yards and rookie Josh Jacobs rushing for 85 yards. It’s considerably more impressive than any of the four wins in Gruden’s first year back in 2018.

After a dress rehearsal of sorts a year ago against Denver — the Raiders were threatening to play elsewhere for a year before going to Vegas because of their ever-present disputes with the city and county — it’s time for the real thing Sunday.

The Raiders may not win the game, but their fans have consistently won the tailgate. They didn’t deserve this. Raise a toast in their honor.