- TOP PLAYERSOffensePABLO S. TORRE | August 20, 2012
- TAMPA BAY buccaneersENEMY lines WHAT A RIVAL COACH SAYSJune 28, 2012
- Faces in the CrowdJune 11, 2001
| DIED |
At age 62 of heart failure, kidney failure and pneumonia, Valeri Vasiliev, captain and star defenseman for the powerhouse Soviet hockey teams of the 1970s and '80s. During his 13 years on the national squad, the Soviets won two Olympic golds, in '72 and '76, and eight world championships, where Vasiliev (above) was voted best defenseman three times. He was also on the ice for the Soviets' most famous defeat, to the United States in the '80 Olympics—what would become known as the Miracle on Ice. ("We were already celebrating," Vasiliev later recalled.) A 17-year member of Dynamo Moscow in the Soviet domestic league, Vasiliev never won a league title—most of his fellow national teamers played for rival CSKA Moscow—but his 619 games played remains a league record.
| ALLEGED |
By sources familiar with the Saints' game-day operations, that New Orleans G.M. Mickey Loomis—who is already facing an eight-game NFL ban for his role in the team's bounty scandal—had access from 2002 through '04 to a system that allowed him to eavesdrop on in-game audio communications among opposing coaches at the Superdome. ESPN's Outside the Lines, which reported the allegations, could not confirm whether Loomis ever used the device, which was installed in '00 so that Loomis's predecessor, Randy Mueller, could listen to his coaches' game-day conversations. Sources told ESPN that the device was rewired during Loomis's tenure to listen in only on opposing coaches, not the Saints'. The allegations were reported to Louisiana's Eastern District U.S. Attorney's Office, which in turn briefed the FBI. If proven to be true—and if the statute of limitations has not expired—such eavesdropping could be deemed a state and federal crime and a violation of NFL rules. A Saints spokesman has called the report "one thousand percent false."
| RUN |
Without incident on Sunday, Formula One's Bahrain Grand Prix, after antigovernment protests had fueled fears that the event would be canceled for a second straight year. In 2011 the race was delayed and then scrapped because of unrest following revolutions in Egypt and Tunisia. Protesters last week contended that this year's race was held merely as a publicity stunt by officials who wanted to make the country seem unified. (At least 50 people have been killed since February 2011 when the Shiite majority rose up against Sunni rulers.) Riot police and citizens clashed in the days before the race, which two-time world champion Sebastian Vettel won by holding off Kimi Raikkonen wire to wire in front of stands that were half empty because of safety concerns.
| DIED |
At age 64 of leukemia after a decadelong battle with multiple forms of cancer, former Los Angeles Rams center Rich Saul (left). An Academic All-America at Michigan State, where he played linebacker alongside his identical twin brother, Ron, Saul was selected by L.A. in the eighth round of the 1970 draft. He moved to offense in the NFL and made six consecutive Pro Bowls, from '76 through '81, his final season. Following his retirement from football, Saul worked in real estate in Southern California.
| RETIRED |
From baseball after 21 seasons, 40-year-old catcher Ivan Rodriguez (right). The career leader in games played at his position (2,427), Pudge spent 12 years with the Rangers before stints with the Marlins, Tigers, Yankees, Astros and Nationals. (He turned down an offer to play for the Royals before this season.) Widely regarded as one of the best defensive catchers, Rodriguez won the 1999 AL MVP award, was named to 10 straight All-Star Games (14 overall) and took 13 Gold Gloves, a record for catchers. He retires with a .296 batting average, 311 home runs and a career 45.7 caught-stealing percentage (a category in which he led the AL nine times). He also reached two World Series, winning with the Marlins in 2003 and losing with the Tigers in '06.