News of the Week
Redskins QB RG III Narrates Tale of Social Impact of Williams’ Performance
NFL Countdown (Sunday, 10 a.m. ET, ESPN)
“Having the opportunity to play and win the Super Bowl 25 years ago, and to have Robert Griffin lll narrating this piece on me for ESPN, wow what a blessing!! Thanks, and Hail to the Redskins.” – Doug Williams
Doug Williams was the Washington Redskins starting quarterback in Super Bowl XXII. His remarkable performance against the Denver Broncos dramatically changed the way African American quarterbacks were perceived in the NFL. Robert Griffin III, who plays the same position, in the same city is one of those beneficiaries, and helps tell the Doug Williams story. Written by ESPN.com reporter Greg Garber.
“All of a sudden he’s got more than a game on his back. He’s got history on his back — the hopes and dreams of a whole race. ‘How did I get all of this? I’m just a football player.’ But it wasn’t just another game, and he wasn’t just another player. Not that day!” – Al Sharpton
“It translated into so many different aspects of life, whether it was in government, whether it was in business, or whatever, that an African American could win the biggest game, in the most popular sport, at the most popular position and the most leadership of positions.” — Warren Moon, on the impact of Williams’ performance
Steal of a Deal
Outside the Lines
(Sunday, 10 a.m. ESPN2)
“I think a lot of people at 49ers’ games today are wearing jerseys from China – probably more people than are wearing the real thing.” — Preston Burns, 49ers fan
“It’s a big game of Whack-a-Mole where we try to go after the counterfeiters, and they pop up somewhere else.” – Anastasia Danias, NFL’s vice president of legal affairs.
Sal Paolantonio Digs Deeper on Lewis Story
News from New Orleans
On Wednesday from New Orleans, ESPN’s Sal Paolantonio reported that the Ravens met with Ray Lewis at the team hotel on Tuesday night to discuss how they wanted him to address allegations from a Sports Illustrated article. Sal’s report included a quote from Ravens President Dick Cass. On Tuesday, Paolantonio spoke with Ravens spokesman, Kevin Byrne, and also helped to advance to the story with that reporting.
Torrey Remembers Tevin
NFL Countdown (Sunday, 10 a.m. ESPN)
Baltimore Ravens receiver Torrey Smith is the oldest of seven brothers and sisters – he helped raise them — which made the call he received in the early morning of September 23 all the more troubling. Just hours before his Week 3 game against the Patriots, Smith learned his younger brother, Tevin Jones, 19, was killed in a motorcycle accident. Lindsay Czarniak reports on Smith’s emotional decision to play and his inspired performance that night.
“The hardest part of my decision was: I had two hours of sleep — Do I want to go out there and hurt my team by playing? Or, am I going to sit here? All my brothers and sisters were like, ‘You know, we want you to play, we want you to play.’” — Torrey Smith, on whether to play less than 24 hours after his younger brother was killed in a motorcycle accident
“This guy shows up to the locker room just pure stone-faced. So, it was our job as the Ravens — as his brothers away from the game, the whole organization — was to just rally around him, give him comfort and support.” — Ray Rice, Ravens teammate, on Smith’s decision to play.
Justin Smith Just Does His Job
Justin Smith is one of the most important players on the San Francisco 49ers’ vaunted defense. But he prefers to remain in the background. When his teammates are getting sacks, it means Smith is doing his job. Liz Merrill reports.
Ed Reed: Hiding in Plain Sight
Baltimore Ravens safety Ed Reed has pulled off an almost impossible feat in an era of information oversaturation. He’s a superstar and future Hall of Famer who shuns the spotlight. Kevin Van Valkenburg reports.