Morten Andersen, LaDainian Tomlinson, Terrell Davis Among Those Inducted Into Pro Football Hall Of Fame

CANTON, Ohio (AP) — Morten Andersen, the NFL’s career scoring leader who spent a season with the New York Giants, and LaDainian Tomlinson, who once played with the New York Jets, into the Pro Football Hall of Fame on Saturday night.

Andersen became just the second placekicker inducted. He played an incredible 25 pro seasons, a league record, mostly for the Saints. He was with the Giants in 2001, and also had stints with the Falcons, Chiefs and Vikings, playing 382 total games.

The left-footed kicker from Denmark — his selection in February set off celebrations back home, where American football hardly is a sports staple — scored 2,544 points (565 field goals, 849 extra points). He is the all-time scoring leader for both New Orleans and Atlanta and was a five-time All-Pro.

A member of the NFL’s 1980s and ’90s All-Decade Teams, Andersen retired in 2004 with 40 field goals of 50 yards or longer, then an NFL mark. He joined Jan Stenerud as the only placekickers in the hall, and paid tribute to Stenerud as a trail blazer.

Andersen was presented for induction by his son, Sebastian. A soccer and team handball player back home, Andersen then delivered an often hilarious speech emphasizing how strange the adjustment to kicking a ball that was not round could be.

He also paid homage to his two homes.

“Good evening, Canton, Ohio,” he began. “Good morning Denmark.

“My story isn’t only about my love for my country of Denmark and its people,” he said, “but also my deep appreciation and respect for what I discovered here in the United States of America.”

Later, the record-setting Tomlinson was the fifth inductee of the night, presented by former San Diego teammate (and lead blocker) Lorenzo Neal.

The fifth overall selection in the 2001 draft, Tomlinson won rushing titles in 2006-07, taking league MVP honors in ’06 when he set a record with 31 touchdowns. Also a strong receiver, he added 4,772 yards and 17 TD receptions to his career numbers for 13,684 yards rushing and 145 scores. Tomlinson even threw seven touchdown passes.

From 2004-05, he set a league mark with 18 straight game with a rushing TD.

The 2006 NFL Man of the Year, Tomlinson was voted to the 2000s All-Decade Team.

In a powerful speech filled with religious references and a call to Americans to be open-minded and open-hearted, Tomlinson also paid tribute to his predecessors.

“I grew up dreaming about running the ball like the great Jim Brown, the late Walter Payton, and the NFL all-time rusher Emmitt Smith,” he said. “Tonight I stand on the shoulders of you.”

He spoke of two brief meetings with Smith at a football camp when he was 12, and how that gave him the confidence to pursue his football dreams.

And he asked “Team America” to “choose to be for one another.”

Sackmaster Jason Taylor, elected in his first year of eligibility, was also inducted Saturday night. He also played a season with the Jets.

A star mostly with Miami, Taylor also spent one season with the Redskins and one with the Jets. In his 15 NFL seasons, the versatile end was a three-time All-Pro and the 2006 Defensive Player of the Year. He had 13 1/2 sacks, two interceptions returned for touchdowns, 11 passes defensed, 10 forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries and 62 tackles that season.

Taylor’s 139 1/2 career sacks helped him make the All-Decade Team of the 2000s. He also was the NFL’s Man of the Year in 2007.

A third-round draft pick from Akron — just down the road from the Hall of Fame — Taylor was presented for induction by Jimmy Johnson, who coached him for several years with the Dolphins.

“I honestly can’t believe I am here,” said Taylor, who kissed the shaved head atop his bust when it was unveiled. “In 1992 I was at the University of Akron, just 20 miles away. It took 20 years to travel 20 miles to put on this jacket. It was worth every step.”

Taylor choked up several times, especially when talking about the late Gary Wichard, who was his agent and, Taylor said, “truly the father I never had.”

Another inductee, quarterback Kurt Warner, played won MVPs with the Rams but also played a season with the Giants.

Also inducted Saturday night was Terrell Davis, who had one of the most spectacular short careers in NFL history. His seven seasons were brilliant enough to get him into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

The former Broncos running back went from an obscure sixth-round draft pick from Georgia to a league MVP and two-time Super Bowl winner. Davis was the catalyst for the NFL titles Denver won in 1997 and ’98 with another Hall of Famer, John Elway, at quarterback.

The 1996 and ’98 Offensive Player of the Year, 1997 Super Bowl Most Valuable Player and ’98 NFL MVP, Davis’ meteoric stint came to an ugly end with a devastating knee injury in 1999. That in great part kept him out of the hall for more than a decade.

Now he’s in, with a resume including one of the greatest seasons in NFL annals. In 1998, Davis became the fourth runner to rush for 2,000 yards in season (2,008) and led NFL with 21 TDs rushing. In the 1998 playoffs, he rushed for a franchise postseason-record 199 yards against the Dolphins, then for 167 yards against the Jets, and 102 yards in the 1999 Super Bowl victory over the Falcons.

A member of the 1990s All-Decade Team, Davis was presented for induction by his agent, Neil Schwartz.

During his speech, delivered in a burst of rain that temporarily thinned the crowd, Davis talked about once “staring down the barrel of a shotgun” as a troubled teenager.

“Thank god someone talked the guy out of pulling the trigger,” said Davis, who then determined to turn his life around.

Davis also suffered from migraines through his high school, college and pro careers.

He campaigned Saturday night for Broncos owner Pat Bowlen to be enshrined in the hall before adding of everyone who helped him get to Canton: “I salute every single one of you.”

Also inducted was Kenny Easley, a hard-hitting safety for the Seahawks and a member of the 1980s All-Decade Team.

A seniors committee choice, Easley played only seven seasons and 89 games for Seattle. But what an impact he made as an intimidator and ballhawk.

The 1981 NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year, Easley was the league’s top overall defender in 1984 when he had a league-leading 10 interceptions, a career high.

Easley, who was presented for induction by his high school coach, Tommy Rhodes, retired after the 1987 season. He had to wait 24 years before being voted into the hall.

“I was first nominated for the hall in 1997,” Easley said. “Twenty years later — be anxious for nothing — the Hall of Fame was dropped on the shoulders of Kenny Easley like a pair of shoulder pads. Some folks said I deserved to be in the hall earlier; I don’t believe that. Others say he didn’t play long enough, I don’t believe that.”

Easley concluded a politically and religiously toned speech by saying: “I thank you for welcoming me into your exclusive club.”

Cowboys owner Jerry Jones was also among the honorees Saturday.

(Copyright 2017 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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Barracuda Championship 2017: Greg Owen Holds Lead After Round 3

Greg Owen holds the lead after the third round at the 2017 Barracuda Championship in Reno, Nevada, with an outstanding 66 that brought his 54-hole point total to 37 in the modified Stableford scoring. 

Stuart Appleby and Derek Fathauer are tied for second, five points behind Owen with 18 holes to play. Fathauer overcame a bogey on the par-five eighth hole thanks in large part to an eagle on No. 13 that was worth five points.

Coming into Saturday, Owen was tied for third place and chasing Richy Werenski, who held a two-point lead. Werenski is still squarely in the mix as part of a four-way tie for fifth place with 30 points, 

Ricky Barnes is sitting in a good position to make Owen feel the heat Sunday. The California native earned 15 points in the third round. 

          

2017 Barracuda Championship Leaderboard—Top 10 

1. Greg Owen (+37)

T2. Derek Fathauer (+32)

T2. Stuart Appleby (+32)

4. Ricky Barnes (+31)

T5. Tom Hoge (+30)

T5. Ben Martin (+30)

T5. Dicky Pride (+30)

T5. Richy Werenski (+30)

T9. Patton Kizzire (+29)

T9. J.J. Spaun (+29)

Full leaderboard available via GolfChannel.com.

         

Mark Hubbard, who is in a tie for 16th with 25 points, gave himself an outside shot at a come-from-behind win by firing the lowest score to par in the third round with a 65. He earned 14 points for his effort thanks to seven birdies without a bogey. 

However, because of the Stableford scoring system, Barnes’ 15 points led the field Saturday. He fired a 66 overall that featured nine birdies, including a run of five straight from holes 12 through 16. 

Owen nearly matched Hubbard’s run of five consecutive birdies. The 45-year-old PGA Tour veteran closed the front nine with three straight birdies, then hit another one on No. 10 before settling for par on No. 11. He came right back with another birdie on 12. 

Among players currently in the top 10, Patton Kizzire made the biggest jump. The former Auburn standout, who has just one career victory on the Web.com Tour, moved 29 spots into a tie for ninth by earning 10 points. 

The stage is set for Owen to earn his first PGA Tour victory. The England native has three career wins to his name—most recently at the 2014 United Leasing Championship on the Web.com Tour—but this year’s Barracuda Championship has brought out the best in his game.  

Man Shot, Wounded In Newark Hair Salon

NEWARK, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — Police in Newark were searching Saturday evening for a suspect in a shooting that left as man wounded in a hair salon.

Officers were called at 3:49 p.m. for the shooting in the salon at the 400 block of Central Avenue, Newark police said. A man was taken to University Hospital in Newark and his condition was listed as stable, police said.

The gunman was described as a black male wearing a white T-shirt with a white scarf hiding his face, police said. He was last seen running north on 4th Street, police said.

Police asked anyone with information to contact the Newark Police 24-hour Crime Stopper tip line at (877) NWK-TIPS (695-8477) or (877) NWK-GUNS (695-4867). Those with information may also go to the Newark police website, or use the new Newark police smartphone app available at iTunes and Google Play. Search Newark Police Division to download the app.

All Crime Stopper tips are kept confidential and could result in a reward.

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Does God Like Me?

Does God Like Me?

How does God feel about you after you’ve sinned?

I’m not asking about your legal status before God — if you know the gospel, you understand that trusting in Christ and his atoning work fully removes your legal guilt. I’m asking a different question, a more deeply personal one. Does God view you as technically guiltless but personally repugnant after you’ve sinned?

In 2013 my wife bought me The Works of Thomas Goodwin. What Goodwin (1600–1680) has been showing me is that I could believe that my legal record before God remained utterly undented, while remaining uncertain at a more acutely personal level how God actually felt about me.

These past four years, Goodwin has been wrestling a settled sense of the heart of God into me. I resisted at first. It felt too mushy. But today, if you asked me to erase from my mind what Goodwin has given me in exchange for a direct deposit of $10 million into my checking account, I’d say keep your money.

Coming Back to the Heart of God

Thomas Goodwin understood the human heart. He knew how easily Christians tend to feel defeated in life. He knew we naturally develop a sense that we are disappointing God, letting him down. He knew it is hardwired into us to view God as parsimonious instead of greathearted.

But Goodwin also understood that the antidote to this debilitating cloud of ambiguity is provided by the Bible itself. Understanding that the Bible uses the term “heart” to speak not merely of emotions only but of the core animating principles of a being, Goodwin wrote and preached of God’s own heart and especially the heart of Christ, the earthly, tangible image of the Father (John 14:9).

Because of the objective glory of the gospel of grace, believers in Christ enjoy not only the legal pronouncement of blamelessness; we get an equally glorious reality, one I believe that is neglected today: we get the very heart of God.

The Father of Mercies

Goodwin’s distinct emphasis was that in all our fickleness and failures, through all our cold and callous days, in all our wandering and waywardness, the heart of God in Christ is drawn out all the more warmly to us. Consider the following, and note how Goodwin reasons:

We may have the strongest consolations and encouragements against our sins. . . . There is comfort, in that your very sins move him to pity more than to anger. . . . Christ takes part with you, and is far from being provoked against you, as all his anger is turned upon your sin to ruin it; yea, his pity is increased the more towards you, even as the heart of a father is to a child that hath some loathsome disease, or as one is to a member of his body that hath the leprosy, he hates not the member, for it is his flesh, but the disease, and that provokes him to pity the part affected the more. . . . The greater the misery is, the more is the pity when the party is beloved.

Now of all miseries, sin is the greatest, and while you look at it as such, Christ will look upon it as such also. And he, loving your persons, and hating only the sin, his hatred shall all fall, and that only upon the sin, to free you of it by its ruin and destruction, but his affections shall be the more drawn out to you; and this as much when you lie under sin as under any other affliction. Therefore fear not. (Heart of Christ, 155–56)

Goodwin is grappling with who Christ is most deeply. Perhaps some of us intuitively believe anger is natural to God while love is mustered up. Goodwin says the reverse is true of both the Father and the Son.

[Christ’s] love is not a forced love, which he strives only to bear toward us, because his Father has commanded him to marry us; but it is his nature, his disposition. . . . This disposition is free and natural to him; he should not be God’s Son else, nor take after his heavenly Father, unto whom it is natural to show mercy. . . . He is “the Father of mercies,” he begets them naturally. (Heart of Christ, 60)

What does Goodwin mean here?

All God’s attributes are equally non-negotiable. For God to cease to be just would un-God him as much as if he were to cease to be omniscient, or patient, or impassible. But from another, deeper angle, Goodwin believed, there are some things that pour out of the heart of God more naturally than others.

God is unswervingly just. But what is his fundamental disposition? What is natural to him? Who, at bottom, is he?

God’s More Glad with Us Than We Are

From texts such as Exodus 34:6–7, Jeremiah 31:20, Lamentations 3:33, Hosea 11:8–9, Matthew 11:29, and Hebrews 4:15, Thomas Goodwin takes us into the deepest recesses of the divine passions and wants to perplex us with a God whose love intensifies rather than draws back when he sees his people’s sins and failures.

Elsewhere, expounding Ephesians 2:4, he writes,

It is [God’s] disposition to be merciful. It is his nature; his being. . . . His whole being and nature inclines him to it. . . . Mercy is his nature and disposition, because when he shows mercy, he does it with his whole heart. (Works, 2:179)

And unfolding John 6:37, Goodwin explains that people resist the gospel because they do not know Christ’s heart:

That which keeps men off is, that they know not Christ’s mind and heart. . . . The truth is, he is more glad of us than we can be of him. The father of the prodigal was the forwarder of the two to that joyful meeting. Hast thou a mind? He that came down from heaven, as himself saith in the text, to die for thee, will meet thee more than halfway, as the prodigal’s father is said to do. . . . O therefore come in unto him. If you knew his heart, you would. (Works, 4:223)

The God Who Justifies Us Loves Us

In emphasizing God’s mercy, Goodwin doesn’t gloss over God’s other attributes; he never elevates one doctrine at the expense of others, including God’s wrath. But as much as Goodwin is (and we should be) theologically precise in every area, we must not be deceived: God’s legal justification of us in Christ is bound up with God’s real, tender, greathearted, merciful love toward us in Christ.

God does not merely count us righteous in Christ, while actually feeling disgusted with and repulsed by us. The same God who legally justifies us is the One who yearns for us from the core of his deepest being. As Goodwin reminds us, God’s children must know that their sins do not push God farther away from them; they pull him closer, like a father who wants to embrace an afflicted child.

Let Thomas Goodwin walk you into the green pastures and still waters of a settled awareness of the outpouring love of the Greatheart, the One who longs more for you at those very moments you are most certain he doesn’t.

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