Tom Skladany Jersey For Sale

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.

Wayne Millner Jersey For Sale

Mike Munchak didn’t have a front-row seat for the revolution. But he could still feel the earth move under his feet every stinking summer.

As a player, Munchak watched — and groaned — as NFL playbooks in the 1980s ballooned in girth from the size of a Sears Wish Book (this was a thing, kids, the Amazon of its day) at the start of the decade to a beast more akin to Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary (that too was a thing), by the end of it.

“When I played, perhaps on first and second down, I played against one guy and on third down I saw another guy, and that’s it,” chuckles the Broncos’ offensive line coach, whose Hall of Fame career was spent as a left guard with the then-Houston Oilers from 1982-1993.

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“Defenses just didn’t do as much stuff. Everyone wasn’t trying to out-trick each other. It was more of, we just lined up and played. So mentally, it was a lot easier.”

Only not for long. After his sixth season, zone blitz defensive concepts introduced to the league by former Dolphins defensive coordinator Bill Arnsparger in the ‘60s and ‘70s had been cranked up to 11 by Dick LeBeau in Cincinnati and Pittsburgh. The “fire zone” was all the rage, and offensive coordinators were compelled to counter with chess moves of their own.

“We were playing the run-and-shoot, so we saw all kinds of crap,” Munchak laughs, “and it just kind of evolved from there.”

By the time the Broncos were birthed in 1960, Paul Brown was the Bill Belichick and Nick Saban of his day — two steps ahead of the curve, admired in some circles, despised in others, and consistently kicking the holy stuffing out of his peers.

When the old AFC launched in 1960, Brown had already won four high-school national crowns, an NCAA title at Ohio State, and a combined seven pro football championships with the Cleveland Browns in the AAFC (four) and the NFL (three). What Enrico Fermi was to the atom, Brown was to the gridiron: a pioneering ninja who more or less invented the face mask, the draw play, the practice squad, full-time assistants, detailed film study — and the playbook as we know it.

“Before Paul Brown’s time, a lot of the head coaches let their quarterbacks call the plays,” notes Jon Kendle, director of archives and football information at the Pro Football Hall of Fame. “Paul Brown was the type who wanted to call his own plays. Before radio receivers were invented — also by Brown — he used messenger guards, so he was always rotating guards, sending with the guard the play he wanted to run.”

As archivist at the Hall, Kendle is the keeper of the NFL’s most sacred scrolls. Among the most sacred is a collection of 8.5-by-12 inch graph paper that Brown used to detail plays with Cleveland in 1954.

He treated football as an academic pursuit, seeing himself as an instructor, and the players as pupils. Which is where the playbook as we know it really comes to pass, as Brown had required his savants during lectures to copy the plays he’d devised on the board into spiral notebooks, even going so far as to collect said notebooks and check their work at the end of the season.

“Brown wanted to put his stamp on everything that the team was doing,” Kendle says, “not (giving) them any room for error, or to manipulate those plays. ‘This play, it’s in the playbook, we’re going to study it, we’re going to write it out on the chalkboard in the meeting room and once you have a full grasp of it, mentally, then we’ll execute it.’”

To be clear, there were playbooks — of a sort — before Brown drop-kicked the NFL into the modern age after World War II. Although, technically, they were more sheets or cards than actual books, and before Brown an NFL team might only have a handful of copies around. If they were lucky.

When Wayne Millner was coaching the Philadelphia Eagles in 1951, to cite an example, one of his young charges was a kid named Bud Grant. On the occasions the future Minnesota Vikings coach or his teammates would have a question about a play, Grant recalled to the Minneapolis Star Tribune, they had to sidle over to Millner, who would then “reach into his back pocket, unfold the playbook and look it up.”

We’ve come a long way, baby.

“It’s pretty much all done electronically now, which is nice, because you can not only go to a playbook, but you can pan back and forth between film,” Broncos rookie quarterback Brett Rypien says. “Which you couldn’t probably do (before).”

The Broncos joined the cutting-edge club roughly seven years ago. Instead of printing out and binding more than 120 copies of a traditional paper playbook, they dumped a 500-page binder in 2012 in favor of a fleet of iPads that featured tech provided by PlayerLync, a video software operation headquartered at the Denver Tech Center.

Since then, nearly half the NFL has adopted the same PlayerLync software, which provides not only playbooks — along with video breakdowns of said plays, all available at the push of a thumb or swipe of a finger — but also team schedules and other pertinent communication. The players can see the schematics of a play, then tap to open up videos of that play against a variety of opposing fronts.

“Now as coaches, we can overload them,” Munchak says. “For those guys, everything for them is so much easier to carry. And it’s good, because it’s more efficient — they have access to a lot more (data) than they had in the past. They can take it home with them, have it with them, they can practice with them, so there are a lot of pluses to it.

“Now, not everyone’s going to look at it. But some guys do appreciate (the convenience).”

While players are issued an iPad upon signing, it’s essentially a rental — the tablet must be returned if a player is cut, traded or leaves the franchise. As a failsafe, the software can be wiped remotely if the iPad isn’t given back immediately.

“I think it can be a little bit intimidating,” Rypien says. “You’ve got to know the looks, you’ve got to know when to get out of a bad play; you’ve got to know how you’re going to get into a good play. If you haven’t repped that stuff and you haven’t got that muscle memory, I think it is a little bit difficult.”

Rypien and fellow rookie quarterback Drew Lock crammed together during OTAs, quizzing each other on the finer points of Rich Scangarello’s system. For Rypien, who ran pro-style sets at Boise State, much of it was old hat. For Lock, who worked primarily out of the shotgun and spread formations at Missouri, a lot of it felt like learning a new language.

“Working together like that I think really helped us,” Rypien says. “And I think we’re definitely further along than we would be if you were going through that by yourself.”

* * *

If Brown were still teaching today, Kendle says, he thinks the NFL icon would be at the front of the line on innovations such as virtual reality goggles, the kind Buccaneers coach Bruce Arians introduced to quarterback Carson Palmer in Arizona a few years ago and, once he’d landed in Tampa Bay, pushed into the path of his new signal-caller, Jameis Winston.

Head coach Vic Fangio

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“It’s totally changed,” says Larry Kennan, a former CU assistant and an NFL veteran who worked on the staffs of six NFL franchises, including the Broncos, from 1982-97. “What’s interesting is, that every (NFL) coaching staff has about 20-22 guys (now) and they have all the computer stuff — it’s so much more advanced (compared) to what it used to be. It used to be, we had 10 guys on the staff, we didn’t have a computer, we just used hand-to-hand stuff.”

He laughs.

“And it worked about the same as it does now.”

Munchak still prefers the hand-to-hand stuff, to be honest — even though he’s got one of those nifty Broncos iPads, too, always within arm’s reach.

“It’s just (about) adapting to that,” he says. “That’s the hard part for me. I’m more, ‘I want to see the paper, I wanted to see the hard copy.’ I’m still the same way with stuff you get through the mail. People want to send me stuff that somebody’s scanned. I go, ‘Hey, I want some paper, send me a copy.’

“I like putting my stamps on stuff. It only feels real when I write it out. I feel the pain of paying the bill, you know? I think you feel it when you write it out.”

Ainsley Battles Jersey For Sale

BALTIMORE — Four-month-old Ainsley Cardente smiles, enjoys “helicopter” rides from her mom and protests when lunch is late. Perfectly ordinary, all of it. And her life is expected to remain that way thanks to a $2.1 million drug recently infused into her little body by doctors from Johns Hopkins Hospital.

Ainsley was born with a rare genetic disorder called spinal muscular atrophy, or SMA, that kills most babies by age 2. Rarely, there are less severe versions like the one that afflicts Ainsley that lead to a slower but still catastrophic decline.

“She’ll never be in a wheelchair; she’ll never feel like a sick person,” said Kate Cardente, Ainsley’s mother, a physician assistant from the Annapolis suburb of Arnold. “She’ll never remember it.”

But Ainsley almost didn’t get the medicine known as Zolgensma. On the market since May, it’s the nation’s most expensive prescription drug and the Cardentes’ insurer initially refused to cover the cost. So Cardente and her husband, David, fought to get it approved. A letter from Ainsley’s doctor at Johns Hopkins Hospital, a top SMA expert, helped win coverage.

“We have a lot to be thankful for this year,” Cardente said at a Johns Hopkins outpatient center in Dundalk as a line pumped the drug into Ainsley’s foot over about an hour.

But the emotional and potential financial burden is likely familiar to many families without the ability to pay out of pocket for necessary drugs. As more gene therapies and other innovative — and ultra-expensive — treatments are approved in coming years, such challenges are likely to become more common even as they engender hope.

“Ainsley is going to be normal, and, oh my God, that is so great,” said Dr. Tom Crawford, the Hopkins pediatric neurologist who treats Ainsley and every baby with SMA in the region. “This is a new world, but society is going to have to figure out how to pay.”

Congress is grappling now with how to bring down the cost of pharmaceuticals, a principal issue for the late U.S. Rep. Elijah Cummings. Drug companies say some of the sky-high costs are due to research and development of novel, life-saving drugs aimed at small numbers of patients. But other older, widely used drugs also have jumped in cost.

In a report last April, Cummings, the Baltimore Democrat who chaired the House Oversight and Reform Committee, highlighted the significant difference in the cost of the diabetes drug insulin in the United States compared with other countries. He said that led some patients to ration their life-saving medication.

Spinal muscular atrophy is a neuromuscular disorder that leads to progressive muscle weakness, paralysis and most often death. It’s caused by the absence of a gene that produces a critical protein needed to preserve motor neurons. Without it, those neurons rapidly die.

AveXis, the Illinois-based biotech company that developed Zolgensma, notes that its cost is lower than the lifetime cost of the other main treatment for the disease, which can exceed $4 million over a decade. Biogen’s Spinraza was approved in 2016 by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration but requires regular and costly spinal injections to stem deterioration.

Zolgensma, approved for children under age 2, works by replacing the missing or nonworking gene permanently with one dose.

“AveXis recognizes the burden and emotional toll of SMA and the urgency” for treatment before neurons die, the company said in a statement to The Baltimore Sun.

“Our goal is to support access for patients who need this one-time gene therapy, and we’re pleased each time a child is approved for treatment with Zolgensma,” the statement said. “As a single, one-time intravenous infusion designed to provide long-term benefit, Zolgensma’s price reflects the long-term value it brings to SMA patients, families and the healthcare system.”

The company said 90% of commercial insurance patients and 30% of government-funded Medicaid patients are now covered. Including patients in clinical trials, about 100 children around the country have been treated so far. About 450 to 500 infants in the United States are affected by SMA a year.

The medicine’s stunning price got something of an endorsement recently by the independent watchdog group Institute for Clinical and Economic Review. The group’s analysis determined its cost was “actually fairly aligned with how well the treatment both extends and improves patients’ lives,” said David Whitrap, a spokesman for the institute.

He said Novartis, which acquired AveXis, initially suggested it would price Zolgensma at $4 million but then offered it for the $2.1 million.

“This is a potential cure for an always-fatal childhood disease, and therefore it is precisely the kind of swing-for-the-fences innovation that the U.S. health system should incentivize and reward,” Whitrap said.

He warned, however, the price means patients and their insurers will have to stop paying “far too much for all the other drugs that do far too little for patients.” He also said the market should not wrongly translate its support for Zolgensma’s cost as endorsement of the price for all gene therapies.

That’s the “absolute wrong takeaway” considering 20 new such therapies are expected in the next five years, he said. Each should be evaluated individually.

Ainsley’s insurer initially said she was not sick enough. She is one of the rare SMA cases with four copies of a backup gene that lessens the disease’s severity. Babies with fewer copies generally die quickly, while those with more copies deteriorate more slowly. Ainsley likely would have been in a wheelchair in grade school.

Researchers initially thought those with four gene copies might never develop symptoms and be treated unnecessarily, but Crawford said they now believe that is a “vanishing concern” and the risks of delaying treatment are too high.

Crawford smiled as he watched a staff of nurses and others tend to Ainsley last month. They loaded a large syringe with the drug, which had been delivered by special courier from a manufacturing plant near Chicago in a small box, which was later presented to the Cardentes with a bow.

Ainsley sat on her mother’s lap in a Hopkins-issued onesie unmoved by the momentousness of the day.

Five to eight SMA cases are identified in Maryland a year, and two-thirds of the children would die without treatment. Over the last quarter century, Crawford says he attended dozens of those deaths from what was known as “the most hopeless disease in pediatrics.”

On this day, however, he marveled at no longer being “a hospice doctor.” Beyond a small amount of treatable liver damage, he expects Ainsley to do normal things like go to school and prom and have a career and a family.

She was the second baby for whom Crawford secured approval to treat with Zolgensma, and he is unsure of the battles ahead. He still doesn’t know why Ainsley’s rejection was reversed in December by the insurer, a federal insurance program used by the U.S. Department of Defense, where David Cardente is an auditor.

CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield administers the Federal Employee Program for the government and made the initial decision to decline coverage, as well as the decision to reverse. CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield officials declined to comment for this article.

In addition to the case made by the doctor, the Cardentes turned to others, including the offices of Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh, U.S. Sen. Chris Van Hollen of Maryland, Maryland Health Secretary Robert Neall and The Baltimore Sun.

Frosh’s office offers free consumer services to those with billing and other disputes with health care providers. Sometimes consumers can’t get into a clinical trial or they are denied a transplant. Increasingly, people have disputes over drug coverage.

The Health Education and Advocacy Unit in Frosh’s office works with state insurance regulators and can refer matters for criminal or civil reviews. Agents handle about 2,000 complaints a year, including about 700 appeals. Among those denied treatment, the office claims a 50% rate of reversals, amounting to millions of dollars in covered costs each year.

Kim Cammarata, the unit’s director, said residents have rights in state law and through the federal Affordable Care Act that include insurer appeals and outside reviews.

“No doubt, it can be hard to navigate the system,” she said. “Some issues may seem mundane, but every time you’re dealing with a consumer it’s important. It’s their drug or procedure. In the Cardentes’ case, it saved the baby’s life.”

There are several measures in Congress to address the cost of drugs that have various levels of support. One would allow Medicare, the government health program for seniors, to negotiate drug prices. One from Van Hollen, called the “We Paid Act,” would limit prices of drugs that were based on federally funded research.

A study published last year in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found that all 210 FDA-approved drugs from 2010 to 2016 were based on taxpayer-backed discoveries. Such a law might have applied to Zolgensma because the drug company researchers received millions in federal grants as well as charitable donations, according to KEI, a nonprofit that tracks funding.

It’s unclear whether any measure might pass Congress and be signed by President Donald Trump, but Van Hollen said it’s imperative given how many families face high prescription drug costs.

“Whether it’s a daily need like insulin or a specialized treatment like what the Cardente family required, American families should be able to afford the medicines they depend on,” the Democrat said.

Dr. Margaret Moon is chief medical officer for the Hopkins Children’s Center and on the faculty at the Hopkins Berman Institute of Bioethics. She said there are questions about how society should pay for expensive treatments and health care generally.

“People are freaked out about spending $2 million to save one child’s life, but think of all the money spent at the end of a life when the body has shut down,” she said. “We allow health care in this country to be outrageously expensive.”

Americans have decided as a society they do not want to ration health care, she said. But not everyone can pay, and there aren’t always government or charitable programs to cover costs, even when the treatments are life-saving, like chemotherapy, she said.

Physicians and administrators at Hopkins spend a lot of time deciding how to provide as much care as possible to patients without exposing the hospital to too much risk that it won’t be reimbursed, Moon said. When Spinraza was approved for SMA, for example, the hospital would ask the drugmaker to supply a first dose to a child as they worked out insurance payments for more. That wasn’t possible with the one-dose, $2 million Zolgensma.

Medical advances continually push the hospital to find ways to cover the costs, she said.

“Sometimes we’re stuck with unanswerable questions,” Moon said.

Ainsley is doing well now, even rolling over from back to front and sometimes front to back. The Cardentes said they’d like to figure out a way to help other families. Kate Cardente said that might mean just telling them how they advocated for Ainsley.

“There really isn’t a blueprint for the next family,” she said. “I’m just so glad we got our miracle day.”

Steve Baack Jersey For Sale

The University of Oregon Ducks struggled in the early 1980’s under head coach Rich Brooks. They suffered through 2-9 seasons and even had a game in 1983 that became infamously known as the Toilet Bowl, the last 0-0 scoreless tie in NCAA history. Despite their struggles, the Ducks had several players that were able to make it to the NFL. was fortunate enough to speak with Steve Baack last week about his time at Oregon under Brooks, his time in the NFL and what he’s doing now. Here’s what he had to say:


ANSWER: I grew up in John Day in Eastern Oregon. I didn’t really have anyone beating the door down to recruit me. Mouse Davis at Portland State was the only one who really tried to recruit me and discovered me so to speak. Then at the very last minute, Rich Brooks offered me a scholarship at Oregon.

No. 39 Steve Baack
Steve Dykes



A. Well, because it was Oregon. I liked Eugene better than Portland area. It was also the Pac-10 back then. It was really a no-brainer for me.


A. Well, coming from a high school of 300 kids in four grades, the enormity of the stadium was a big difference. Even though it wasn’t what it is now, in terms of attendance, I was awestruck to some degree by the size of the stadium and the amount of people in attendance.


A. As a freshman coming in, I kind of tiptoed around until I could figure out who the established veterans were. The freshman class, as I remember it, was more trying to figure out who each other were rather than trying to integrate themselves with who was already there. There was good chemistry and I made some new friends. You get to hear stories from guys who came from across the country and traveled a long ways to get there. Most of them had never heard of where I was from in Eastern Oregon, so we had a lot to talk about.


A. Believe it or not, it was actually in a spring practice and not in a game. I was a redshirt freshman and we were all trying to establish ourselves as players. There was a stud running back, Vince Williams, and I was playing middle linebacker. We ran the 4-3 Dallas Cowboys flex defense back then and the offense ran a trap play with him running the ball up the middle. I read it perfectly and I just blew into the hole and I crushed the guy.

The whole defense just erupted, started hollering and screaming and it was a loud crack. It was actually written up in the Register Guard. Right after the play, coach Brooks came running up to me and grabs me by both shoulders. He shook me and looked me right in the eyes and yelled, “THAT IS THE WAY YOU FILL THE TRAP!” So it wasn’t a game so much as it was that particular spring practice.


A. You just have to pinch yourself. I think we had one winning season in my five years, having that extra year as a redshirt freshman. There was talk at the time that maybe we didn’t even belong in the Pac-10 and that we were the door mats year after year. I found it humorous the other day when I dug out one of my team pictures and it said on the bottom: First winning season in nine years, fifth straight win over OSU. That’s all we really had to hang our hats on back then. It wasn’t easy.


Steve Baack, ready to roll.
Steve Dykes


A. For sure. To be able to say you played for Oregon in the past, you get to share in their current success. The fans that have been around since the days I played, remember that there wasn’t a lot of victories that were memorable, but a lot of difficulties. One of the toughest was the Toilet Bowl against Oregon State. So, to see them doing so well is awesome.


A. I would thrive. When I played in a flex defense as a defensive end, I had very strict gap responsibilities. We weren’t given the green light to just cut loose like Dion Jordan a few years back and Tony Washington. Now, the way that they turn the defensive ends loose and are aggressive at going after the quarterback, it would have really suited my style of play. If I could have done that, I would have had a ball.


A. It was great. It does take a while to get acclimated to the rigors of maintaining the grades. Then when you include practice, getting taped and so forth is a lot of work. Coach Brooks was always emphasizing heavily the need to make sure that we pulled grades. It certainly wasn’t like it is today, with all the resources that they have. It was a lot of work, but a great experience.


A. It’s like what I said about stepping on the field for the first time there. The enormity of it all and all the fans was an incredible experience. We didn’t have nearly as many fans at the games as they do now. It was loud and when coming from a small Eastern Oregon town of 2,000 people, it made it totally different experiencing over 35,000 fans.


A. After a couple of years, I had my counselors take a look at my transcripts and where my strength of study was and they suggested psychology. I found myself fascinated by the biochemistry of the brain and that has a lot to do with psychology. I like to joke that I was a psychology major because that’s four years of multiple choice tests, so that was a nice smooth path.


A. The level of responsibility that you have to assume for yourself was bigger and you couldn’t make any excuses. Coming from a small school, the change was a lot of work. However, I managed to get through it alright.


A. Well, when it came to the draft, I couldn’t pick where I wanted to play. The Detroit Lions may not have been my first choice, but I made the most of the opportunity. Things are faster, a lot bigger and have a lot more significance in the NFL. You’re being paid to do a job and have a lot of responsibility. Being late for a team meeting, for example, would cost you a $1,000 back then. It’s a lot more now because they make more money.


A. I was drafted in 1984 in the third round. I had five credited seasons with them. I played five years and had three head coaching changes. My body felt it even after that short of a time period. I made a position change during that time as well, which was difficult. The “Fridge” was doing his thing in Chicago and everyone else was looking for players that were big and athletic enough to play fullback or tight end. Learning how to pass block in the NFL, after never doing it, was a hard transition.


A. Oh, easily playing against the Bears. Playing against guys like Jim McMahon, Richard Dent and Walter Payton. I tackled Payton on the goal line in Chicago at Soldier Field. It made the 1986 Lions Highlight Film and having Darryl Rogers call me the best short yardage player he had ever seen made me feel great.


A. I live back out in Eastern Oregon, in Moro, with my fiancée Debra. I work in sales out of my home as my full time job. We established a bed and breakfast out here called The Craftsman Inn Moro. It’s a beautiful 1917 home that’s been fully restored. We have some venues that we pull from. There’s a race track out here in Grass Valley and we also have the Maryhill Winery close by.


A. I would like to say thank you for your continued support of the team; especially the fans that were around during the lean years and stuck around to share the success that they are having now.


What was the team Nickname for you? Baackman

Best thing about your time with Oregon football? Never losing to the Beavers

Who do you think were the best players on the team during your time with the Ducks? Bryan Hinkle, Mike Walter and Steve Brown.

Toughest opponent (player) you faced while at Oregon? Bruce Matthews at USC

Toughest opponent (Team) you faced while at Oregon? Washington

Teammate or mates that you learned the most from? Scott Shepard

Did you have a pregame ritual? Listening to music.

Favorite game? Beating the Huskies 34-10 when they were ranked No. 13.

Team loss that you could turn to victory? The 0-0 tie against the Beavers.

Favorite U of O athlete for all time? Mac Wilkins

You can’t live without? Being able to work out.

Family? A son Brian (26) and daughter Lexi (19)

Q. Anything you would like to add?

A. With the interest and fan base that the Ducks now have, it’s nice to see all of the sites pop up, to be able to keep up with recruiting and news. I like what Charles Fischer has done with helping the average fan by breaking down plays for those who don’t understand exactly what it takes. I really like what FishDuck has done.

Jim Leonard Jersey For Sale

“We have four daughters together. I didn’t sign up to do this alone,” exclaims Teresa.

On Wednesday’s episode of “The Real Housewives of New Jersey,” Teresa Giudice learned that Joe Giudice’s first appeal in his deportation case had been denied.

The Giudice family attorney, Jim Leonard, stopped by the house to discuss the next steps with Teresa. She wanted her brother, Joe Gorga, there to help her “understand everything.”

“I feel like I’m just so numb,” she told Jim as they waited for Joe to arrive. “I feel like I can’t even believe this is happening.

Once Joe got there, Teresa caught him up to speed. Joe asked if the girls knew. Teresa said she told Gia, who was “so upset.” She also told Gabriella so “Gia’s not the only one who has to deal with this.” She hadn’t told the youngest, Audriana, who earlier in the episode cried as she struggled to remember memories of her dad and family vacations while they sorted through old photos together. Tre also hadn’t told Milania, the most sensitive of the bunch.

“You better tell her,” Joe urged. “Don’t let her hear it from somebody else.”

Melissa Doesn’t Think Giudices Will Stay Married
“I don’t want speak too loud,” Jim said as he looked around and lowered his voice, “but he’s in trouble. His immigration lawyers made the arguments to the lower courts, and the courts have denied it very aggressively. I mean, they blew up every single argument. So the next step is the other appeal, the third circuit, and saying, ‘Please, the lower courts have made mistakes.’”

“It could take months,” he went on. “We have to start the whole process all over again. But the problem is, this is his last chance, and you’re not bringing forward new information. So I think the odds are against Joe at this stage. Immigration is the hottest topic on the planet, and I think Joe is caught in the crossfire of that.”

A stunned Teresa sat silently as Joe asked, “What’s his percentage of coming home?”

“It’s not good right now,” Jim confessed, as a still-hopeful Joe asked, “50, 30, 10 percent?”

“Given what we learned this morning,” Jim lamented, “significantly less.”

Teresa’s eyes welled up as her brother leaned in to give her a hug. “I feel helpless,” she said. “I want him to come home. We have four daughters together. I didn’t sign up to do this alone. Joe was calling me, and he’s like, ‘I’m sorry I let you guys down. I’m sorry.’”

“He’s scared,” Jim said, but Teresa said she was “scared, too.”

“Let me ask a serious question here,” Joe interjected, looking at his sister. “Why continue to fight? You’re burying yourself financially.” Teresa said their daughters wanted him to fight. “Yeah, but when there’s no money,” Joe warned, “it’s that much harder. You know that, right? So for your future, your daughters, your everything — to keep going? You have to think now as a business person that he’s not coming home. Sometimes, you have to understand, ‘It’s not going anywhere. I might have to move on.’”

“I understand what my brother’s saying,” Tre later told the camera, “but I’ve been through financial strain before. I had to pay back taxes, I had to pay off all our debts, so how can I put a price tag on my daughters having their daddy home?”

RHONJ Recap: Margaret Jokes About Teresa Liking Younger Men, Jackie Has Rough Start to Jamaica Trip
Earlier in the episode, while the ladies were still in Jamaica, the topic of Danielle Staub’s short-lived marriage to Marty Caffrey came up in conversation. Teresa blurted out that the two recently “had sex.” Margaret Josephs didn’t believe it and called Danielle “pathological.”

“I was on the phone with her, and she was like, ‘Hi, sweetheart,’” Tre recalled, asking Margaret, “What’s the point of lying?”

Dolores Catania, who hates Danielle almost as much as Margaret does, interjected, “All her lies doesn’t negate the fact that she slept with him.” Margaret said she believed Danielle “tried to have sex with him as her last-stitch effort to get the house.”

In her confessional, the Marge claimed Danielle and Marty were still living together in Marty’s home. “According to the terms of their divorce,” she said, “she has to buy him out of the house — over $2 million — or get the hell out.”

Melissa Gorga wanted to know if Marty would tell Margaret the truth about the situation. Margaret said he’d tell her husband, Joe, so they called up Mr. Benigno. Unfortunately, he didn’t answer, so the women suggested she “just call Marty.”

“I’m with the girls, and it seems like Danielle is spreading rumors that you and her are banging,” Margaret said to Marty, who replied, “What?! She’s gotta come up with the money on my house, so that’s where her game is.”

“So is that a no?” Jennifer Aydin asked. “I didn’t hear a definite no.” After Margaret hung up, the ladies were in agreement that they thought Marty was lying. “A stiff dick has no conscious,” Dolores noted. “One p—y can pull a freight train.”Jim Leonard Jersey For Sale

As all this was going on, Danielle called Teresa, who was petrified to answer because she thought she would be “in trouble.” She was. Danielle told Tre she was upset she told the girls her business and hung up on her. Teresa was concerned she had hurt Danielle’s feelings, but Margaret cavalierly asked, “Who gives a f–k?”

Howard Twilley Jersey For Sale

The University of Tulsa has a proud football history. The Golden Hurricane was nationally relevant in the 1940s and the 1960s, and TU occasionally still rears its head to remind the nation that there are more than two major-college teams in Oklahoma.

OSU plays at Tulsa on Saturday, and here’s a primer on TU football history:

Conference titles: Steve Kragthorpe’s 2005 team and Bill Blankenship’s 2012 team each won Conference USA, beating Central Florida in title games. Tulsa also won 19 outright Missouri Valley championships and tied for six others. Tulsa was in the Oklahoma Collegiate Conference from 1914-28 and won five titles, and Tulsa was in the Big Four Conference from 1929-32, winning the league all four years. Tulsa played in the Valley from 1935-85, then was an independent until joining the Western Athletic Conference in 1996. In 2005, TU jumped to Conference USA, then joined the American Conference in 2014.

Article: OSU coach Mike Gundy sees playing at Tulsa as ‘another home game’ for Cowboy fans
Article: 3-2-1 Kickoff: Key players, big questions for OSU at Tulsa
Bowl history: Tulsa played in three straight major bowl games, 1942-44 seasons, and bookended those with the Sun Bowl (1941) and the Oil Bowl (1945). Tulsa lost to Tennessee 14-7 and Georgia Tech 20-18 in back-to-back Sugars but beat Georgia Tech 26-12 in the Orange Bowl (1944 season). TU is 10-11 in bowl games. Tulsa is 6-4 in bowls in the 2000s, with some notable results – victories of 55-10 over Central Michigan (2016 Miami Beach Bowl), 31-17 over Iowa State (2012 Liberty), 62-35 over Hawaii (Hawaii Bowl), 45-13 over Ball State (GMAC Bowl) and 63-7 over Bowling Green (GMAC), plus losses of 55-52 to Virginia Tech (Independence) and 24-21 to Brigham Young (24-21).

Best team: 1942. It was the World War II era, but in ’42, many players remained on college campuses. College football really became depleted starting in 1943. In 1942, Tulsa shut out its first six opponents and finished 10-0 before losing to Tennessee in the Sugar Bowl. The Glenn Dobbs-led team beat OU 23-0 and Oklahoma A&M 34-6.

Greatest player: TU has had three consensus all-Americans – center Rudy Prochaska in 1934, receiver Howard Twilley in 1965 and offensive lineman Jerry Ostroski in 1991 – but its greatest player was Glenn Dobbs. The single-wing tailback from Frederick was a passer and punter extraordinaire. He later became TU’s head coach.

Arch-rival: OSU. Saturday, the Cowboys become Tulsa’s most-played rival. TU has played Arkansas 73 times, but trails the series 54-16-3. The Golden Hurricane and the Razorbacks have played just four times since 1993. This will be the 74th meeting between OSU and Tulsa. The Cowboys lead the series 41-27-5. The rivalry has taken extended breaks; no games between 1965 and 1976, only four games since 2000, but counting Saturday, they play 11 of the next 13 years.

Greatest win: On October 30, 2010, Tulsa won 28-27 at Notre Dame. Shawn Jackson returned an interception 66 yards for a touchdown, Damarius Johnson returned a punt 59 yards for a touchdown, Kevin Fitzpatrick kicked a go-ahead field goal with 3:23 left in the game and John Flanders intercepted a Fighting Irish pass in the end zone with 36 seconds left in the game. Tulsa has beaten OU five times, but beating Notre Dame tops them all.

Greatest coach: Henry Frnka went 40-9-1 in five seasons, 1941-45, before leaving to coach Tulane.

NFL legacy: Pro Football Hall of Famer Steve Largent played at Tulsa in the 1970s, as did Drew Pearson, the leading receiver for Tom Landry’s 30 years as the Dallas Cowboys coach. Hall of Fame general manager Jim Finks also played at TU.

Biggest upset: Tulsa shocked 15th-ranked Texas A&M 35-34 in 1991, but TU’s biggest shocker came on September 25, 1971, when the Hurricane beat seventh-ranked Arkansas 21-20 after entering the fourth quarter trailing 20-0. That was not a great TU team; it finished 4-7. But quarterback Todd Starks threw three fourth-quarter touchdown passes, outdueling Razorback star Joe Ferguson.

Stadium: Skelly Stadium opened in 1930 and had a capacity of 40,385. A major renovation in 2008 came with the rebranding to H.A. Chapman Stadium and reduced capacity to 30,000.

Historical importance: TU was on the cutting edge of the passing revolution almost 60 years ago. Tulsa led the nation in passing for five straight years, 1960-64, and in ’64 quarterback Jerry Rhome and receiver Howard Twilley led a unit that broke 20 NCAA records. Rhome and Twilley were back-to-back Heisman runnersup, in 1964-65.

Career rushing leaders: D’Angelo Brewer, 2014-17, has the TU record, with 3,917 rushing yards. The most impressive Tulsa rushers, though, were Michael Gunter and Len Lacy, who were teammates from 1980-82, with Lacy also playing in 1979 and Gunter in 1983. Gunter finished with 3,536 rushing yards, third all-time, and Lacy had 2,272 rushing yards, seventh all-time.

Career passing leaders: Of all the big-time throwers in Tulsa history – Rhome and Billy Guy Anderson in the ‘60s, Jeb Blount in the ‘70s, T.J. Rubley in the ‘80s-‘90s, Gus Frerotte in the ‘90s – the career passing leader is Dane Evans, who played four years, 2013-16, and threw for 11,680 yards.

(Story continued below…)
Career receiving yards: 54 years after Twilley’s final season, he remains the all-time TU leader in catches (261), receiving yards (3,343) and touchdown catches (32).

Famous alum: Susan Eloise Hinton, whose pen name is S.E. Hinton, became renowned for her young-adult novels like The Outsiders and That Was Then, This Is Now. Hinton wrote The Outsiders as a high school student in Tulsa.

David Bruton Jersey For Sale

AURORA, Colo — Nearly every NFL player will tell you about the dream that began in childhood.

Not many will tell you about the dream of playing football and then going into the medical field — but David Bruton Jr. will.

“It’s something I loved being around as a kid,” Bruton said. “Getting PT on my hip flexors and just building that relationship with the physical therapist because you see them day in day out.”

Bruton is part of the class of 2021, pursuing a doctorate degree in physical therapy at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus. His next dream is to graduate and open a clinic with a focus on youth concussion recovery.

Once a pre-med student at Notre Dame University, Bruton changed his major to political science and sociology, then he was drafted by the Denver Broncos.

As a strong safety and captain of special teams, Bruton enjoyed a lot of success and a Super Bowl victory. He also suffered a dislocated shoulder, a broken leg, broken ribs and a few concussions. After several years in the league, he knew when it was time to move on.

“Football’s given me the chance to provide for my family, continue to play the game I love and learn things that I can take into the next profession and help other people outside the family,” Bruton said.

Bruton is looking forward to achieving this dream. While he loved playing football at the highest level, he believes the reward will be greater in this next career, where he can help others get back to functioning at a high level to improve their own lives.

Assistant Professor Amy McDevitt considers him the ideal student because of his intellectual abilities and his previous life experience in the NFL.

“Before he was the patient and he was receiving the treatment, receiving the therapy,” McDevitt said. “And now he really gets to exercise his mind and apply his anatomy and apply his communication skills.”

In many ways, the current chapter of David Bruton, Jr.’s, life runs counter to his first career as a strong safety and Super Bowl 50 winner in the National Football League.

Where he once suited up in raucous NFL stadiums, Bruton now practices massage techniques in serene settings. Where he played a violent game on rapid-fire instinct, he now takes a thoughtful, analytical approach to evaluating the varying needs of each individual. Where his former employer, the Denver Broncos, expected him to dish out punishment, Bruton’s new mission is to become a licensed physical therapist so he can relieve pain and help young athletes get back in the game.

Bruton spent two years completing prerequisites at CU Denver and is now in the second semester of the Doctor of Physical Therapy Program in the CU School of Medicine. The 32-year-old Ohio native played for the Denver Broncos and a final season with the Washington Redskins; the eight-year span was four times longer than the average NFL career.

David Bruton talking with a classmate

David Bruton enjoys a conversation with a classmate while eating lunch at the start of one of his physical therapy courses in Education 2.
“The NFL stands for Not For Long, so I definitely had a good run at it,” said Bruton, who played collegiately at Notre Dame. “I know in the grand scheme of things, life is a lot more than just between the lines on a football field. I have my family, my dreams and aspirations. Now I’m on to the next chapter.”

‘Seeing what his body has gone through’
Bruton frequently volunteers to be the “patient” in class or lab – offering up his shoulders or triceps for exam and evaluation, for example.

Michael “Mac” Mundie, a longtime classmate of Bruton’s, enjoys having the former pro athlete in the 69-member PT cohort. “It’s definitely interesting working with him – just seeing what his body has gone through in all those years with the Broncos. It makes labs more interesting,” he said.

Bruton sat down with CU Anschutz Today for an interview in Education 2, his home away from home these days.

Today: Your physical therapy program at CU Anschutz is a departure from playing football. Did you have a turning point where you realized you wanted to retire from pro football and pursue a new career?

DB: In high school, I thought about becoming a physical therapist. Having multiple encounters with different PTs throughout my football career … kind of drove it home. I definitely had my share of concussions … I don’t remember having them at all. The last concussion (with the Redskins) was definitely like an ‘a-ha’ moment. I realized I have so much more to look forward to … and I didn’t want to worry about hurting myself to the point where I couldn’t pursue another career.

Johnny Clement Jersey For Sale

WINDERMERE, Fla. – UCF men’s coach Bryce Wallor crunched the numbers Monday evening before Tuesday’s final round of the Tavistock Collegiate Invitational and was blown away by his team’s performance on the greens.

The four counting Knights holed more than 800 feet of putts in Round 2 as UCF, the No. 72-ranked team in Golfstat entering the week, led a star-studded field by 17 shots through two rounds at Isleworth.

“Out of this world,” Wallor said. “… Those putters were red hot.”

Not even a fiery Isleworth, some diabolical pins and a challenging pack that included undefeated Texas Tech could cool off the Knights. UCF closed in 1 over Tuesday, but it was more than enough to win by 14 shots over runner-up LSU. The victory marked the first for UCF at its home tournament.

Full-field scores from the Tavistock Collegiate Invitational

The Knights, who finished at 20 under and led the field with 57 birdies, were led by sophomore Johnny Travale, who carded seven of his tournament-leading 17 birdies in a final-round, 6-under 66. He needed to make a 5-footer for bogey at the par-4 finishing hole Tuesday to finish at 12 under, a shot clear of LSU’s Trey Winstead.

Wallor called Travale, who transferred from Kent State this year, a “game-changer for our program” and said the sophomore is a mainstay at the team’s practice facility at Twin Rivers Golf Club in nearby Oviedo. “He’s always there,” Wallor said. For Travale, he’s just enjoying the practice-friendly weather.

“I’m really happy where I’m at,” said Travale, who was joined in the top 10 at Tavistock by fellow sophomore Clement Charmasson, who tied for seventh.

The Knights are glad to be back in the Sunshine State, as well. UCF played its first three events of the fall in Michigan, Connecticut and Nebraska, winning just one of them.

Tuesday’s victory wasn’t just the biggest win of the young season, it arguably was the most notable regular-season title in school history.

UCF was 19 shots better than Vanderbilt, 20 clear of Texas Tech, 22 ahead of eighth-ranked Arizona State and 27 lower than preseason No. 1 Texas.

“This was a big one for our guys,” said Wallor, whose team will close the fall next week at the AAC’s preview tournament at Innisbrook. “We’re a very young team. … I think when they came in here this week, they looked around and a few guys commented, ‘I never beat that guy in junior golf,’ and they have now, so they’re going to build some confidence from this. They know they can do it, and we’re just going to go out and get to work.”

Justin Canale Jersey For Sale

Justin Canale, a former college and professional football player and icon to an older generation of Memphians, died this week. He was 68 years old.
Justin and his five brothers, all of whom would play football at Tennessee or Mississippi State, were the subject of a story in Sports Illustrated in 1964 that compared the family farm to a gladiatorial training ground. Whit Canale, Justin’s older brother, died three weeks ago.

Justin played offensive guard and kicker for Mississippi State in the Joe Namath years of the Southeastern Conference. From 1965-1975, he played for the Boston Patriots of the AFL, the Cincinnati Bengals of the NFL, the Memphis Southmen of the World Football League, and three different pro teams in Canada. He kicked straight on, old-school style, and could make them from 50 yards. He underwent 20 operations for football injuries, some performed by his cousin, Dr. Terry Canale of the Campbell Clinic.

A Paul Bunyanesque character said to be able to pop a basketball by squeezing it in his hands, Justin Canale was known for both his physical strength and his gentle disposition. As high school and college stars in Memphis and at rival colleges, the games where Whit and Justin squared off were legendary. They were a newspaper photographer’s dream as they posed in a three-point stance or with their mother kissing one or the other of them on the cheek. Justin also starred in track and once tossed the shot put 58 feet to win the SEC meet.

Every 98-pound-weakling in Memphis in the early Sixties would have given his Converse All-Stars, Superman comics collection, and allowance to look like Justin and Whit Canale in blues jeans and t-shirts.

“I remember him as being like a Greek god,” said his cousin, Drew Canale. “He and Whit were huge men. As a little boy, they scared me to death. Justin was probably the best known of all the Canales. He was a gentle giant.”

Another cousin, Billy Tagg, said the Canales “were the politest people. Everything was yes ma’am and yes sir. Their mantra was ‘say what you mean and mean what you say.’ I never saw them bullshit anyone.”

The Tagg clan also included some robust lads who probably could have combined with the Canales to field a football team that would have whipped Ole Miss without going outside the family gene pool.

I got to know Justin several years ago while doing research for a magazine article. He insisted on calling me “Mr. Branston” although I was several years his junior, and if he was behind the register at the family grocery store in Eads, I had as much chance of paying for a ham sandwich as I did of beating him at arm wrestling. Even in the age of weight training, he was one of the most massive men I have ever seen, with forearms and shoulders built up by farm work and hefting axles long ago at the family’s Sinclair Station on Union Avenue.

The funeral is Saturday at 11 a.m. at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Catholic Church in Germantown.