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Marla Ridenour on Sports

Memories of Blanda include Cleveland

By Marla Published: September 30, 2010

Former Oakland Raiders coach John Madden remembered legendary Hall of Famer George Blanda, who died Tuesday at the age of 83, on his Sirius NFL Radio show and one of his best stories came from a game against the Browns.

“We’re playing Cleveland, and we’re behind and on the goal line,'' Madden said on his show ''Madden Football.''  ''He comes over, we take a timeout, and I’m going through [play calls], ‘Let’s do this. Let’s go far right 16. No, no, no, I don’t want to do that. Let’s go far left 7. No no, let’s go near left 65…’

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Will tie awaken soccer Zips?

By Marla Published: September 30, 2010

University of Akron soccer coach Caleb Porter admitted his top-ranked Zips were not at their best Wednesday night as No. 19 Ohio State rallied for a 2-2 tie in front of a record crowd of 7,255 at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium.

The Zips (6-0-1) saw their NCAA record-tying streak of 11 consecutive games without allowing a goal snapped. That string, which matched Furman (2002) and Virginia (2009), began on Nov. 15, 2009.

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Palmer defends Browns' Wright

By Marla Published: September 29, 2010

USC guys stick together, even when they play for division rivals in the NFL.

Bengals quarterback Carson Palmer joined Browns coach Eric Mangini in defending Cleveland cornerback Eric Wright, who was beaten by Ravens receiver Anquan Boldin for three touchdowns Sunday at Baltimore.

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Can Scott repair damage of Gilbert's letter?

By Marla Published: September 28, 2010

During his 14 seasons as an NBA player with the L.A. Lakers, Indiana Pacers and Vancouver Grizzlies, Byron Scott said he always felt like an underdog.

The intensity and fight Scott displayed as a player will be sorely needed in his third stint as a coach as he tries to lead the Cleveland Cavaliers back to respectability this season and beyond.

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Mariucci: 'He looks like Csonka'

By Marla Published: September 27, 2010

Count former NFL coach Steve Mariucci as the most vocal member of the Peyton Hillis fan club.

Sunday on the NFL Network, the former 49ers and Lions coach watched Browns running back Hillis rip off a 25-yard run against the Baltimore Ravens and exclaimed, ''He looks like Csonka.''

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Thomas raves about Hillis

By Marla Published: September 26, 2010

While bashing the Ravens for 144 yards on 22 carries and a touchdown, Browns running back Peyton Hillis found a big admirer in left tackle Joe Thomas.

Thomas loved the explosion of Hillis, who dashed for a career-long 43-yard run in the second quarter.

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Call him Mr. Generous

By Marla Published: September 26, 2010

 On all three of his touchdown receptions Sunday against the Browns, including his 600th career catch, Ravens receiver Anquan Boldin handed the ball to a fan.

 ''I think giving them something like a football is something they'll remember for the rest of their lives,'' Boldin said. ''I'm not a big memorabilia guy. I don't have jerseys and balls everywhere. I don't have a problem giving them away.''

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Long Q/A with Indians' Mark Shapiro

By Marla Published: September 26, 2010

I sat down with Indians General Manager Mark Shapiro for a 45-minute interview last Monday morning at his office at Progressive Field. I took that to write a column that appeared on and in the Akron Beacon Journal today. Here is the full interview.

Q: What kind of president do you think you will be? A Hank Peters kind of guy who makes all the big decisions? Or a president who stays out of GM Chris Antonetti’s way?

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Lewis wanted to run Browns

By Marla Published: September 24, 2010

Running back Jamal Lewis may have worn a Browns uniform last season, but he told Baltimore Sun columnist Mike Preston he will be rooting for the Baltimore Ravens Sunday when his two former teams meet.

''Ravens, that's my team,'' Lewis told Preston.

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If Browns didn't call Eagles, they should

By Marla Published: September 23, 2010

No one can tell who is telling the truth as trade rumors swirl about Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Kevin Kolb.

But one thing is for sure -- if Browns general manager Tom Heckert hasn't made a phone call to check on the availability of Kolb, he should.

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Carson launched Blount's career

By Marla Published: September 22, 2010

Hall of Fame cornerback Mel Blount was a third-round pick of the Pittsburgh Steelers in 1970, but when Bud Carson joined the coaching staff in 1972, Blount's career was off to a rocky start.

Linda Carson, wife of the late Bud Carson, recently remembered an encounter Carson had on the plane with Blount during the '72 season that helped give the young defensive back confidence.

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Remembering Coach Carson

By jim Published: September 21, 2010

Akron Beacon Journal sports columnist Marla Ridenour interviewed Linda Carson, wife of former Browns head coach Bud Carson, in Bud's office at their home in Sarasota, Fla. recently. Carson coached the Browns from 1989-90 until he was fired by Art Modell. Carson died in 2005 but his office remains virtually unchanged. Read the story here.

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Jets may soon tire of Braylon's antics

By Marla Published: September 21, 2010

Even with the dismal state of the Browns' passing attack, there has been no second-guessing of coach Eric Mangini's decision to trade receiver Braylon Edwards to the New York Jets last Oct. 7.

Today, Mangini's move looks more solid than ever. In fact, Jets coach Rex Ryan may be starting to agree with Mangini.

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What's wrong with the running game?

By Marla Published: September 20, 2010

The most glaring and most mystifying regression in the Browns' offense through two games is the running game.

In the final four games of last season, the Browns led the league with 900 rushing yards, an average of 225 per game. In 2010, they have totalled 177, an average of 88.5.

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Calling all playmakers

By Marla Published: September 19, 2010

Where are the playmakers?

It's a question that dates back longer than this Browns season. But two games and two losses in, little seems changed with the Browns' offense. Only receiver/returner Joshua Cribbs seems to be able to give the team a spark.

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Browns face must-win situation

By Marla Published: September 17, 2010

No one in the locker room was willing to go that far. But considering the brutal stretch of games the Browns face in the next eight weeks, Sunday's home opener against the Kansas City Chiefs is a must-win, at least for coach Eric Mangini.

After the Chiefs (1-0), the Browns take on Baltimore, Cincinnati, Atlanta, Pittsburgh, New Orleans, New England and the New York Jets. The Ravens, Steelers and Saints games are on the road. All but Atlanta and Pittsburgh made the playoffs last season and those two missed with 9-7 records. The Saints won the Super Bowl.

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No women allowed: Be careful what you wish for

By Marla Published: September 16, 2010

To those who believe a locker room is sacred ground where women should not tread, be careful what you wish for.

Judging from the comments on Wednesday's blog about Ines Sainz, some readers are willing to sacrifice knowledge of their favorite teams to keep women out.

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Women in the locker room: 20 years later, another setback

By Marla Published: September 14, 2010

Just when I thought it was safe to go back in the locker room, another alleged incident of sexual harassment of a female reporter reminds me just how far we haven't come.

Actually, I haven't decided what troubles me more -- the way the New York Jets allegedly treated Ines Sainz of TV Azteca on Saturday while she waited to interview quarterback Mark Sanchez or the totally inappropriate remarks of Clinton Portis on the subject Tuesday morning.

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48 hours changes everything

By Marla Published: September 14, 2010

Before kickoff of the Browns-Bucs game Sunday in Tampa, optimists thought the Browns had a chance to build on their four-game winning streak that ended the 2009 season with a 2-0 start against the Bucs and Kansas City Chiefs.

Now, 48 hours later, everything seems different.

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Browns reluctant to commit to Harrison

By Marla Published: September 13, 2010

One of the most mystifying aspects of Sunday's 17-14 loss at Tampa Bay was the Browns' continued reluctance to rely on Jerome Harrison as their featured running back.

Even though Harrison was listed as the starter of the official post-game statistics, the Browns did not open in their base offense and Peyton Hillis was called on first, with quarterback Jake Delhomme throwing to him on first down and Hillis carrying for no gain on second down.

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Jake Delhomme postgame comments

By Marla Published: September 12, 2010

Voices of reason come from Columbus

By Marla Published: September 10, 2010

With LeBron James considering attending Saturday's Ohio State-Miami football game in Columbus, Buckeyes coach Jim Tressel and junior quarterback Terrelle Pryor tried to calm the masses still seething over the Cavalier star's departure to the Miami Heat.

When word got out that James might be on the Buckeyes' sideline, angry fans responded on the Internet. Even some of the milder responses suggested Pryor should reconsider his choice of mentors. Others wondered whether James being on the sideline would be an NCAA violation since he owns a sports marketing/management company.

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Delhomme bashing continues

By Marla Published: September 9, 2010

First, ESPN analyst John Clayton listed Browns quarterback Jake Delhomme as the 33rd-best quarterback in the league.

On Wednesday, the bashing continued for the 35-year-old who threw 18 interceptions and eight touchdown passes in 11 games last season before being released in March by the Carolina Panthers.

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Browns find plenty of good men

By Marla Published: September 8, 2010

Not only did the Browns find a strong, credible leader for their front office in president Mike Holmgren, but they found a few in the locker room, too.

Quarterback Jake Delhomme and linebacker Scott Fujita have only been with the Browns since March, but they were among the six players voted captains on Wednesday.

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Tuesday musings: Browns not interested in T.J., Ravens are

By Marla Published: September 7, 2010

Musings on the weekend's activities, including the Browns' final cuts.

It's somewhat surprising that general manager Tom Heckert said the Browns had no interest in receiver T.J. Houshmandzadeh after he was released by Seattle, only to see him snapped up by the Baltimore Ravens.

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Browns gamble and lose on Hardesty

By Marla Published: September 3, 2010

Running back Montario Hardesty will miss his entire rookie season with what ESPN's Adam Schefter reports is a torn left anterior cruciate ligament.

The Browns placed Hardesty on injured reserve late Friday, ending his season, but gave no details.

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OSU must shore up special teams

By Marla Published: September 3, 2010

There was much to like in No. 2 Ohio State's 45-7  rout of Marshall Thursday night.

Brandon Saine averaged 11.4 yards per carry, zipping for 103 yards on nine attempts and touchdowns of 4 and 45 yards. It was the third career 100-yard game for senior co-captain Saine and only the second time he has scored twice in one game.

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Terrelle Pryor post-game comments

By Marla Published: September 3, 2010

Ohio State quarterback Terrelle Pryor's post-game remarks after a 45-7 victory over Marshall Thursday night. Pryor completed 17 of 25 for 247 yards and three touchdowns before being lifted with 10:42 remaining.

What did this game mean: ''We made a lot of big plays, got the crowd going. We had a lot of fun.''

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OSU: Why open on Thursday?

By Marla Published: September 2, 2010

With Ohio State's opener against Marshall just hours away, some fans and former players wondered why the program would play on a Thursday night.

That was Browns receiver Brian Robiskie's reaction when learning of the Buckeyes' debut, his reponse along the lines of ''We don't play on Thursdays.''

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'The Game' stays where it belongs

By Marla Published: September 1, 2010

Michigan director of athletics Dave Brandon admitted Wednesday night on the Big Ten Network that he was concerned that the Ohio State-Michigan game would be moved from the final game of the regular season starting in 2011.

''At one point it seemed like that was in jeopardy,'' Brandon said.

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Browns get a break on Rogers' penalty

By Marla Published: September 1, 2010

Recovery from leg surgery could still keep Browns nose tackle Shaun Rogers from playing in the Sept. 12 opener at Tampa Bay. But the team may be relieved that one -- and likely two -- of its top defensive linemen will not be suspended by the NFL after being arrested with handguns at airports.

The league announced Tuesday that Rogers would forfeit one game check for his April 1 arrest at Cleveland Hopkins airport, which he is appealing. Rogers has been placed in a diversion program, which includes community service and a gun class, and can have the felony charge dismissed upon completion.

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