LSU starting QB, other players to meet with police

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LSU starting QB, other players to meet with police

From Comcast SportsNet Tuesday, August 23, 2011
BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) -- LSU starting quarterback Jordan Jefferson and three of his teammates have decided to meet with police at an undisclosed time and location Tuesday. Police Sgt. Don Stone announced Monday night that the meeting would take place and said authorities are keeping the details secret to ensure "the integrity of the investigation is not hampered or disturbed." Police have asked Jefferson, along with offensive lineman Chris Davenport, defensive lineman Josh Johns and receiver Jarvis Landry, to offer their recollection of last Thursday night's fight. Four people were injured in the scuffle, none of them players, and one person's injuries were serious enough that two players could face felony battery charges, Stone said. He said two other players could be charged with misdemeanor simple battery. He declined to say which two players could face the more serious charges. Earlier Monday, defense attorney Nathan Fisher, who is representing the four LSU players, had said he was not aware of an impending meeting between his clients and police. However, that changed after authorities agreed to a new meeting location. Investigators initially asked the players to come to police headquarters on Monday morning, but that was delayed after the players hired Fisher, who is known for representing LSU players in the past. Stone said such delays are standard when people of interest in investigations hire attorneys. Stone also stressed that Police Chief Dewayne White is not giving LSU players any special treatment and the investigation of the fight will continue with or without players' cooperation. "These guys aren't going anywhere, they're not a flight risk. It's not like we don't know where they're at," Stone said. "It's not like we're sitting around waiting for them. We still have witnesses to interview. ... And if it reaches the point to where the evidence supports the allegations, we'll obtain arrest warrants for the persons responsible. And if it's these four football players, they'll be arrested and booked into the East Baton Rouge Parish jail." Witnesses have described one of the victims being kicked in the head while lying on the ground, Stone said. He declined to specify who did the kicking or who got kicked. LSU practiced Monday evening, but university officials said none of the players who have been named in the investigation would be made available to the media. Players who did talk to reporters were instructed not to answer any questions about their memories of what happened at the bar not far from campus. The players were out after a curfew imposed by the coaching staff when the fight took place. However, LSU athletics spokesman Michael Bonnette said players traditionally conclude fall camp, which this year ended last Thursday, by socializing together after curfew. Bonnette said that tradition has spanned the tenures of a number of coaches. Nonetheless, coach Les Miles has said the allegations surrounding the fight have made him "miserable," and the entire team has been punished with additional conditioning during practice, such as running. Miles also said more punishment would be forthcoming as more details of the investigation were revealed. As of Monday night, though, no players had been suspended. The fourth-ranked Tigers open the season against No. 3 Oregon on Sept. 3 at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas. Jefferson was expected to be the starting quarterback, but if he cannot play, fellow senior Jarrett Lee would be the likely starter behind center, with junior college transfer Zach Mettenberger next in line. Lee, who has been taking some snaps with the first team since before the alleged fracas, said there were not any substantial changes to the practice routine on Monday and Jefferson continued to also receive his regular work with the starters. "Nothing changed. Practice was the same. We had a great practice today," Lee said. "All of us quarterbacks, we know to be good you have to prepare each and every day to be the starter, whether your opportunity comes or not, so we're going to continue to work hard." "It's an unfortunate situation," Lee added. "You never want something like this to happen to your football team. We're family. We're a close-knit group. Things like this happen. ... All the great teams have their ups and downs. It's about how you bounce back and we're going to stay positive and keep working hard." Lee has been teammates with Jefferson for the past three seasons, and said he did not see any noticeable difference in Jefferson's demeanor. "He's a great guy, great friend," Lee said. "He's still working hard, still practicing hard, still laughing in the film room." Stone said Jefferson, Davenport, Johns and Landry are currently the only people of interest in the case, but added that investigators are still interviewing witnesses and that more players could have been involved. Authorities have obtained security video from a business neighboring the bar, which is in a strip mall just south of campus. Stone declined to talk about what the video shows. Fisher, meanwhile, said he did not want to discuss the facts of the case in the media. Fisher did say he believes Stone has made several inaccurate statements, but declined to specify. Currently, police are aware of only four alleged victims whose names they have not released. The four were treated at a hospital and released. Three had minor injuries and a fourth had the more serious injury that would warrant the second-degree battery charges, Stone said. The victims have hired an attorney, Michael Bienvenue, and have indicated they want to press charges, Stone said. Bienvenue did not return a phone message left at his office.

Red Sox recall Sam Travis, send Velázquez back to Pawtucket

Red Sox recall Sam Travis, send Velázquez back to Pawtucket

BOSTON -- On the list of Red Sox problems, finding a platoon partner for Mitch Moreland at first base isn't high on the list. But the others -- third base, fifth starter -- aren't solvable at the moment, so the Sox turned to one they think they can solve.

Today they recalled Sam Travis from Pawtucket, most likely to provide relief for Moreland against left-handed pitching. Travis' path to the majors was delayed by a knee injury that cost him a good chunk of the 2016 season -- otherwise, odds are good he'd have been here by now -- but he signaled his readiness by recovering from a 5-for-36 start with a sizzling .344 average in 90 at-bats since April 22 that includes six doubles and three home runs. His OPS in that span is .909.

Most importantly, Travis crushes left-handed pitching. He's hit .358 (93-for-260) against them in his professional career, and is .414 (12-for-29) against them this year. 

Hector Velázquez was sent back to the PawSox to make room for Travis, ensuring another roster move later this week. After Kyle Kendrick's failed attempt to take control of the fifth spot in the starting rotation, Velázquez was called up and given a shot in Oakland last Thursday night. He allowed six earned runs over five innings, failing the test. And thus the search for a fifth starter -- at least until David Price returns -- continues.

Price will make a rehab start in Pawtucket tomorrow and could return to Boston after that, but the Sox will need a pitcher for Saturday's game against Seattle. Even if Price is cleared to return to Boston, he won't be able to pitch Saturday on two days' rest.

Patriots undrafted free agent signing Josh Augusta cut out pizza and lost a lot of weight

Patriots undrafted free agent signing Josh Augusta cut out pizza and lost a lot of weight

FOXBORO -- There are a lot of things in Josh Augusta’s past in football that makes him an intriguing player as the undrafted defensive tackle enters his pro career. Among them: a high-school career as a 320-pound receiver and fullback reps in college. 

Also in his past: About 50 pounds. 

That’s how much weight the Missouri product says he has lost since the end of last season, when he began slimming down from 390 pounds to where he is now with the Patriots. 

How did he do it? Cutting out pizza, for one. 

“I cut out all the fast food, late-night eating, cut out all that,” Augusta said Tuesday at Gillette Stadium. 

There were ample reasons to lose the weight. He’s had asthma all his life and has also dealt with sleep apnea and a thyroid condition in recent years. He wanted to be able to not only move better, but breathe better. 

Now in the 340s as he nears what he previously set as a 335-pound target weight, Augusta’s body is getting closer to what it was when he arrived at Missouri. 

“I feel faster. My breathing’s getting better, just because I lost the weight,” he said. “Just stay on track and hopefully everything still goes right.”

For Augusta, everything going right would entail him enjoying a long NFL career. For all the potential versatility with Augusta -- he says he could still see himself playing some fullback for the Pats if they wanted -- there was little surprise when he went undrafted given that he was not a consistent starter throughout his college career, which he finished as a second-stringer. There were also questions of his stamina, which he feels the weight loss has helped.

Yet the Patriots have done plenty with works in progress, particularly ones who can be used in multiple spots. As he looks to shape his professional career, Augusta thinks New England is the best-case scenario. 

“I feel great here,” he said. “I know I know I’m in good hands, just because of the history they have.”