Valentine on Robinson: Baseball needed him


Valentine on Robinson: Baseball needed him

BOSTON -- Major League Baseball will pay tribute to the late Jackie Robinson Sunday, with players on every team wearing uniform No. 42 in honor of the player who broke the color barrier in baseball with the Brooklyn Dodgers 65 years ago.

"Obviously, Jackie Robinson did what was needed for the game of baseball and did what was needed for America,'' said manager Bobby Valentine. "He was exactly the right guy to do the exact right thing. (Former Dodgers executive) Branch Rickey chose him and he took a big step forward for mankind.''

Valentine has more of a connection to Robinson than most. Robinson lived in Stamford, Conn., Valentine's hometown, after his retirement and Valentine met him on several occasions.

After Robinson passed away, Valentine came to know Robinson's widow Rachel and his daughter Sharon in several charitable endeavors.

Further, Valentine's father-in-law, former Dodger pitcher Ralph Branca, was a teammate of Robinson's.

"Ralph's the last living member of the 1947 Dodger team,'' said Valentine. "Ralph was one of those guys that welcomed him . . . Ralph's talked about those experiences as much as anything he's talked about in his life. It was obviously traumatic. Ralph takes great pride in being part of what was going on then and understanding the difference between right and wrong.''

Valentine has heard lots of stories from Robinson's first few seasons and "most of them were ugly. Most of the things that Ralph related were things that I'm anything but proud to have heard. But he endured. It's really amazing. There are books and movies and legend but I think what Jackie did is beyond all of that.''

Valentine was manager of the New York Mets when MLB officially retired Robinson's No. 42 and remembers that as "one of the great days for baseball.''

Butler imitates Brown with post-interception dance: 'Nothing personal'


Butler imitates Brown with post-interception dance: 'Nothing personal'

Malcolm Butler didn't mean any disrespect. After all, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. 


When the Patriots corner picked off a Landry Jones pass in the first quarter -- one that was intended for receiver Antonio Brown -- Butler stood up in the end zone, faced the Heinz Field crowd, stuck one arm in the air a and gyrated like someone had attached jumper cables to his facemask. 

He was doing his best to mimick one of Brown's well-known touchdown dances.

"Me and Brown had conversation before," Butler said, "and it was a joke to him once I showed him how I do it. Much love for that guy. Nothing personal."

For Butler, it was the highlight of what was a productive afternoon. The third-year corner was asked to shadow Brown for much of the day, and he allowed Brown to catch five of nine targets for 94 yards. He also broke up a pair of passes intended for Brown's teammates.

“Stopping Antonio Brown, that’s impossible," Butler said. "You can’t stop him. You can only slow him down. I just went out there and tried to compete today . . . Great players are going to make plays but you have to match their intensity.”
Even on the longest throw from backup quarterback Landry Jones to Brown, a 51-yarder, it appeared as though Butler played the coverage called correctly. 

Butler lined up across from Brown and trailed him underneath as Brown worked his jway from the left side of the field to the right. Butler was looking for some help over the top in that scenario, seemingly, but because Brown ran across the formation, it was hard for the back end of the defense to figure out who would be helping Butler. 

Belichick admitted as much after the game. 

"He was on [Brown] a lot the way we set it up," Belichick said. "Look, they've got great players. They're tough to cover. They hit us on a couple over routes, in cut where they kind of ran away from the coverage that we had. 

"The plays were well designed. Good scheme, good thorws and obviously good routes by Brown. They got us on a couple, but I thought we competed hard. We battled all the way. We battled on third down. We battled in the red area. They made some. We made some, but they're good. They have a lot of good players."

And Brown, in particular, is about as close as it gets to unstoppable in the NFL. Butler found that out in Week 1 of last year when he matched up with Brown in his first game as a starter, giving up nine catches for 133 yards to the All-Pro wideout. 

Though Sunday might not have been perfect for Butler, it was better than that day about 14 months ago. And at times, it was worth dancing about. 

SUNDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL: Seahawks, Cardinals miss OT FGs, tie 6-6


SUNDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL: Seahawks, Cardinals miss OT FGs, tie 6-6

GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) Seattle's Stephen Hauschka and Arizona's Chandler Catanzaro missed short field goals that would have won the game in overtime and the Seahawks and Cardinals settled for a 6-6 tie Sunday night.

Hauschka's 27-yard field goal was wide left with seven seconds left after Catanzaro's 24-yarder bounced off the left upright.

The tie was the Cardinals' first since Dec. 7, 1986, a 10-10 draw at Philadelphia when the franchise was based in St. Louis. It was the first for the Seattle since entering the NFL in 1976.

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