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Marla Ridenour on Sports

Ted Ginn Jr.'s Thursday Super Bowl transcript

By Marla Ridenour Published: January 31, 2013

Here's what former Ohio State and Glenville High school star Ted Ginn Jr. had to say Thursday during Super Bowl media interviews.

(on what it feels like to be at the Super Bowl) “I’m just grateful for the opportunity to have a playoff run and to go to the Super Bowl. It’s great.”
(on if he ever thought he would get to the Super Bowl) “I knew one day I was going to be here. It was my goal. If I was going, I was going to fight for it to happen. For it to happen sooner rather than later in my career is great. It shows what kind of a team we have to put runs back-to-back.”
(on what he likes about playing for the 49ers) “It’s all football. It’s just in different cities and different spots. The 49ers just have a little more tradition, and they have a lot of big time people coming from the area. It’s just great that I’ve had the opportunity to play for the 49ers. Most people don’t have the opportunity to play for a big time team. It’s been an honor to play for the 49ers and to go to the Super Bowl playing for the 49ers. It’s a great experience and I’m just trying to enjoy it.”
(on how he felt about his role this year) “I’m a team player at all times and I just want what’s best for the team. I have enjoyed it and now I’m fighting for the Super Bowl. Everything before that is really forgotten about. I’m right where I want to be, and that’s the Super Bowl. I hope we go out and win and make plays. I want us to enjoy this together, no matter who plays.”
(on if he would like to have more of an impact in the wide receiver role) “Yeah, for sure, but most of the time when you’re on championship teams, you have to sacrifice. Look at LeBron (James) and Dwyane Wade and (Chris) Bosh; they’re all number one picks. But when they had to come together as a team, they had to give up something. You just have to give it up. I’m not saying you can’t do it anymore, but just not at that time. There might be somebody else that can do it better, or it’s the right time for them to do it. So, you just go out and control what you can control, and you play the game.”
(on reflecting on his years in Miami) “I have no bad feelings toward Miami. When I was there, I had good times. They have a great coaching staff. It is what it is and it’s a business. I don’t think it was my playing, personally. I think it was a business move they had to do and sometimes that just happens. I got the best of the deal though.”
(on living up to the expectations of being the number nine pick) “I can’t help what was going on with my team at the time. I control what I control. My first year, I had eight quarterbacks. It was tough but I enjoyed it. It was the life of an NFL football player.”
(on how he feels being called a “draft bust”) “There are a lot of them out here. It’s all about how you change it around. It is what it is and it’s not going to stop me from going out and playing. If I’m a bust, I’m a good bust.”
(on what he thinks the future has in store for him) “I just hope we get this win and we’ll see after that. I’m still going to be me and do what I do.”

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Alex Boone's Monday Super Bowl transcript

By Marla Ridenour Published: January 30, 2013

Here's what San Francisco 49ers offenisve lineman Alex Boone, an Ohio State and St. Edward High School product, said Monday at the Super Bowl.


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Donte Whitner's Wednesday Super Bowl transcript

By Marla Ridenour Published: January 30, 2013

Here's what San Francisco 49ers safety Donte Whitner, an Ohio State and Glenville High School product, had to say during Wednesday's Super Bowl media session.

(on if it’s easy to stay focused on football this week) “Well, when you have the type of guys that we have, we really like to play football. We’re really not here for everything else. We’re here to play football and to come back with a ring. So, yeah, it’s easy for us to switch off and on.”
(on the biggest way LB Ahmad Brooks has grown this year) “He’s just tremendously focused out there. And you can tell it – he was second-team All-Pro. He’s out there getting to the quarterback. Even if he doesn’t get sacks, he’s putting a lot of pressure on the quarterback, setting the edge on the run, getting all of the blocks, being extremely physical, tossing a lot of tight ends around, and that’s what we like him to do. So, that’s why he was second-team All-Pro.”
(on the successes of Brooks and DT Ray McDonald that gets overlooked) “He and Ray are extremely physical on that side, teams do not run the football to that side. Really, teams can’t really run the football on us at all. We have four guys up there that are extremely physical, extremely talented, and they really make this defense. That’s why we play like we do, because those guys go out and work the way that they do. All four of them are top guys in the National Football League.”
(on a unique challenge that Ravens RB Ray Rice brings to the game) “Well he’s a smaller guy, so he can hide behind some of those linemen and pop out at the last minute. Extremely shifty, and they like to use him in the pass game also. Try to work your linebackers. Joe (Flacco) can go deep, and (if) the second or third receiver isn’t open, you better believe it’s coming down to Ray Rice – and Ray Rice makes a lot of plays in the pass game also. So we have to know where he is at all times.”
(on the challenge facing Joe Flacco) “Extremely, extremely strong arm. Likes to take chances, but he’s extremely accurate on the deep ball, also. Some other thing we’re going to have to do is understand that when he’s being pressured in the pocket, the play can sometimes be extended. If you’re not continuing to stay deep in your deep zones, then that’s when you’ll get beat. We understand that, it’s something that we haven’t really seen, and we just have to keep those guys in front of us and not allow them to get behind us.”
(on the different strengths of the Ravens wide receivers for Flacco) “They start off with Anquan Boldin. Extremely physical guy – they move him in the slot. He’s really their possession receiver, but he also goes over the middle, breaks tackles. Fearless guy. Extremely strong, extremely quick. Not the fastest of guys, but extremely quick and can get behind the defense. Then you go to Torrey Smith. Torrey Smith is extremely fast, probably top five in the National Football League as far as pure, straight line speed. And that’s his deep throw. When he wants to go deep, he’s going to Torrey Smith. He can run other routes, but his specialty is going deep. And then you have (Dennis) Pitta. Pitta is starting to emerge as a top guy for them. He’s getting behind the defense, he’s scoring in the red zone, and he’s becoming just a reliable, all-around guy for them. Developing into a top tight end in the National Football League. It’s hard to jam him, so we’ll have to be physical with him. He’s pretty good. And then Ray Rice. He uses Ray Rice also in the pass game. Everybody knows what he can do in the run game and the plays that he can make, but as far as getting up into receivers and making them miss, catching the football and making big plays, he’s probably, right now, one of the top running backs in the National Football League in terms of being able to receive the football out of the backfield. So, they have a total group of weapons for him, and he’s been utilizing them well.”
(on the importance of San Francisco’s secondary against the Ravens’ deep game) “Our secondary is going to be huge. Not allowing his guys to get behind us and keeping them to a certain amount of big plays in the football game is going to be huge. And it’s huge each and every week, though. It’s not just because of the Super Bowl, it’s each and every week. But they have, arguably, one of the fastest guys in the National Football League in Torrey Smith. He’s been getting behind the defense all year long, especially over the last four games. You’ve seen a lot more (Anquan) Boldin going a little deeper, and they have tight ends that are getting behind the defense. So we have to be disciplined in what we’re doing and have to understand that sometimes, when the rush looks like they’re getting there, he’s still going to be able to extend the play and he still has a strong enough arm and accuracy to throw it deep and get it to where it’s going. And we just have to be aware of that.”

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LeBron visits the White House

By Marla Ridenour Published: January 28, 2013

Here's the official White House transcript as the 2011-12 NBA champion Miami Heat was honored in a visit to the White House Monday.


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Cavs' Varejao hospitalized with blood clot, out for rest of season

By Marla Ridenour Published: January 21, 2013

Cavs center Anderson Varejao’s All-Star-caliber year took another turn Monday when the team announced his hospitalization for a blood clot in his right lung that will keep him out for the rest of the season.

Varejao was admitted to the Cleveland Clinic on Thursday, the team said, and is being treated with blood thinners. According to a news release, he will remain there for several days for treatment and observation and will take medication for about three months.

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More from my interview with Jim Nantz about Browns VP Mike Lombardi

By Marla Ridenour Published: January 21, 2013

Here’s more from my Saturday evening telephone interview with Jim Nantz, the lead NFL play-by-play announcer for CBS Sports. Nantz talked about the Cleveland media’s criticism of his close friend Mike Lombardi, hired Friday as the Browns vice president of player personnel. Nantz first defended Lombardi in a Friday radio interview on Cleveland’s 92.3 The Fan.

Q: You sound upset with the Cleveland media?
A: I don’t think it’s been fair and I definitely know it hasn’t been accurate. Other than that I’ve got no problem with it.
It’s amazing how many things people want to credit or blame Mike for when in some cases he had nothing to do with draft picks, players signed, etc. It’s just not right. Just look at the draft classes of these teams he was part of. ‘Oh, look, he picked JaMarcus Russell.’ He didn’t pick JaMarcus Russell. He didn’t have anything to do with that pick. He didn’t want Russell to be picked by the Raiders. It wasn’t his call on that, but I’ll blame it on him.
The attitude, though, that some people have, that they know more than Mike Lombardi knows about football or know that he would not be a good fit, it’s outrageous.

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Eagles' hiring of Chip Kelly raises plenty of questions for Browns

By Marla Ridenour Published: January 16, 2013

Questions (with few answers) about the Eagles’ hiring of Chip Kelly:

I remain steadfast in my support of the Browns hiring of Rob Chudzinski and my belief that Chip Kelly’s fast-paced spread offense would have been too risky of a move for this franchise. But the announcement Wednesday that Kelly was bound for Philadelphia after his Jan. 4 flirtation with the Browns raised many questions.

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Marla Ridenour: Rob Chudzinski's hiring makes sense for Browns

By Marla Ridenour Published: January 11, 2013

At first glance, the Browns hiring of Carolina Panthers offensive coordinator Rob Chudzinski as coach Thursday night seemed surprising, especially when their two-week search included much bigger names.
But in many ways it makes perfect sense.
At 44, he’s relatively young.
He’s intelligent (earning an MBA from the University of Miami), a tireless worker and an innovative offensive mind.
He grew up in Toledo rooting for the Kardiac Kids. His family came to the games in his two previous stints with the Browns..
He’s experienced the Browns’ struggles firsthand after serving as offensive coordinator in 2007-08 under coach Romeo Crennel and tight ends coach in 2004 under Butch Davis.
He had a huge hand in one of the best Browns offensive seasons in team history. In 2007, the Browns scored 402 points, their third-best all-time. Receiver Braylon Edwards broke Gary Collins’ record for receiving touchdowns that had stood for 44 years and quarterback Derek Anderson tossed 29 TD passes and went to the Pro Bowl. A 10-6 season led to contract extensions for Crennel, Anderson and general manager Phil Savage.
Chudzinski played tight end at the University of Miami and won two national championships, so he knows the chemistry needed to make a team a winner. He also coached 10 years there
Before owner Jimmy Haslam and CEO Joe Banner became infatuated with Oregon’s Chip Kelly, it seemed as if  they were searching for the next Mike Tomlin. The perception was they would end up with an unknown assistant with no previous head coaching experience but possessing the leadership and charisma to inspire NFL players. Chudzinski isn’t unknown here, but he fits that profile. Under him, Anderson, Edwards and tight end Kellen Winslow had their most productive NFL seasons. He seems ready for his big break.
After Davis resigned with five games remaining in 2004, interim coach Terry Robiskie tabbed Chudzinski to call the plays, unusual since Chudzinski was so close to Davis. Browns tight ends considered that a sign of respect from Robiskie.
"As a kid I wanted to grow up and play here; this I guess is the next best thing,” Chudzinski said then.
In fact, on the day Davis’ departure was announced, owner Randy Lerner was asked if he would recommend any of the current assistants to be retained by the next regime.
"I'm not into meddling and I don't even want to do things that are that close," Lerner said that day. "I do think there are talented guys and Chudzinski is great."
Evidently Haslam and Banner saw the same thing in Chudzinski. To some, that may seem frightening, especially considering Lerner's track record in hiring. At the moment, I’m not among them. Something about Chudzinski's hiring seems right.


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Varejao will need surgery for 'freak injury'

By Marla Ridenour Published: January 9, 2013

Anderson Varejao will have surgery Thursday to repair a split quadriceps muscle near his ailing right knee and will miss another six to eight weeks, the Cavaliers announced Wednesday.

He is not expected to miss the rest of the regular season, a league source said, but this makes it highly unlikely Varejao will be moved prior to the league’s Feb. 21 trade deadline.

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Thoughts on the Browns coaching search and other weekend musings

By Marla Ridenour Published: January 7, 2013

On Browns coaching search:

On Kent State’s 17-13 loss to Arkansas State in the Bowl:

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