- TOP PLAYERSOffensePABLO S. TORRE | August 20, 2012
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By 38-year-old Chicago Fire striker Brian McBride, who in 2002 became the first American to score in two World Cups, that he would retire following the '10 MLS season. A first-team All-America at Saint Louis University, McBride (above, with Team USA) earned international attention playing in Germany before returning to the U.S. in 1996 to play for Columbus as the No. 1 overall pick in the inaugural MLS draft. (He scored a franchise-record-tying 62 goals in eight seasons.) He then moved to England, where he won over the Brits with successful runs at Everton and later Fulham, for whom he potted 40 goals in 4½ years. Said McBride, who ranks third all time in goals for the U.S. national team (30), "It was time for a new segment of my life."
After a golfer's club struck a rock and ignited a spark at Shady Canyon Golf Course in Irvine, Calif., 12 acres of hillside vegetation. The Aug. 28 blaze, which was set off when the player tried hitting out of a dry patch of rough, required the attention of a platoon of helicopters and some 150 Orange County firefighters, who needed seven hours to douse the flames. Authorities have declined to name the golfer, who faces no charges in the incident.
From six games to four by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, the suspension of Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, who was accused of (but not charged with) sexual harassment following a March night on the town in Milledgeville, Ga. (SI, May 10). That incident, which involved a female student from Georgia College & State University, was deemed in April to be a violation of the league's personal conduct policy. It was the first such ruling that did not involve an arrest—but Goodell told Roethlisberger that he could reduce the suspension by staying out of trouble. Last Friday the two-time Super Bowl winner, accompanied by team president Art Rooney, visited the commissioner, who granted a conditional reduction and followed up with a letter stating, "You told me ... you committed to making better decisions. Your actions ... have been consistent with that promise, and you must continue to honor that commitment." Roethlisberger's accelerated reinstatement was particularly noteworthy because his backup, Byron Leftwich, sprained his left MCL last Thursday night against the Panthers and was expected to miss two to four weeks. Third-year quarterback Dennis Dixon will step into the starter's role during Roethlisberger's absence.
For the 2011 football season in order to accommodate the addition of Nebraska to its ranks, the Big Ten. The shuffle places Iowa, Michigan, Michigan State, Minnesota, Nebraska and Northwestern in one as-yet-unnamed division and Illinois, Indiana, Ohio State, Penn State, Purdue and Wisconsin in another. The league agreed to maintain six cross-divisional rivalries to be played every year, including Minnesota-Wisconsin (at 119 games, college football's most-played rivalry) and Michigan--Ohio State. The latter game will remain as the last of the regular season for each team, meaning that the Wolverines and the Buckeyes could face each other in back-to-back contests if both reach the conference title game. No decisions have been made yet about reshaping the conference in other sports.
By the Jets to a reported four-year, $46 million contract, fourth-year cornerback Darrelle Revis, whose 35-day training-camp holdout, played out publicly on HBO's reality show Hard Knocks (SI, Aug. 23), cost him $578,305 in fines. Revis (above, 24) had three years left on the deal he signed in 2007, when New York drafted him No. 14 out of Pittsburgh, and was scheduled to earn $1 million this season—a bargain for a player who finished second in the '09 Defensive MVP voting and who earned the nickname Revis Island for the way he isolated his opponents' top receivers. Revis wanted to be the NFL's highest-paid corner. His new deal, reached after Jets coach Rex Ryan and owner Woody Johnson visited Revis at his South Florida home last Saturday, ranks below that of the Raiders'' Nnamdi Asomugha (average salary: $15.1 million). On Sunday the corner wrote on his Twitter feed, "I'm sorry for this process, and I can't wait to get back on the field."