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#pounditSaturday, January 22, 2022

Stories by Aaron Mansfield:

Marwin Gonzalez guns runner out at plate to keep Astros ahead

The Astros and Yankees are currently battling in Game One of the American League Championship Series.

In the fourth inning, Carlos Correa and Yuli Gurriel gave the Astros a 2-0 lead. In the following frame, however, the Yankees threatened to get right back into it.

With a man in scoring position, Aaron Judge drilled a sharp line drive to left field. Greg Bird charged toward home.

Houston leftfielder Marwin Gonzalez came up huge, though, and gunned Bird out at the plate.

The throw kept Houston up by two runs, and in the bottom of the sixth, the score remains the same. The Astros are three innings from a 1-0 series lead.

Clemson QB Kelly Bryant leaves game with concussion

Kelly Bryant

Clemson junior quarterback Kelly Bryant, the heir apparent to Deshaun Watson, left the Tigers’ game against Syracuse in the first half Friday. Bryant had to be helped off the field after taking a brutal hit from Syracuse lineman Chris Slayton. Slayton slammed Bryant, who was scrambling, to the turf.

At the half, Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney told ESPN Bryant suffered a concussion.

Athletic trainers helped Bryant to his feet and he slowly walked off the turf. He was 12 of 17 for 116 yards at the time of the injury.

Entering Friday’s game, Bryant had thrown for 1,259 yards, four touchdowns, and four interceptions. He had also rushed for 401 yards and seven touchdowns.

The teams were tied at 24 at the end of the third quarter.

The next man up under center for the Tigers is redshirt freshman Zerrick Cooper.

Correa, Gurriel give Astros first lead of ALCS in pitchers’ duel

Carlos Correa

The American League Championship Series was a pitcher’s duel early on. In the first three innings, New York’s Masahiro Tanaka didn’t allow a hit, and Houston’s Dallas Keuchel amassed five strikeouts.

In the fourth, however, the Astros became the first team to get on the board in the series.

Jose Altuve singled, then stole second base, narrowly beating the throw. Then, with the speedy Altuve in scoring position, Carlos Correa singled on a line drive to left field. Correa brought Altuve home, putting Houston up 1-0.

Tanaka retired the next batter he faced, Marwin Gonzalez, but Yuli Gurriel singled, and Correa, who advanced on Gonzalez’s groundout, scored from second.

Heading into the fifth inning, Houston had a 2-0 lead.

Drake wears ‘Kentucky Dad’ hoodie, addresses crowd at Big Blue Madness

Drake Doris Burke shirt

Sorry, Ashley Judd — Drake is the most famous Kentucky basketball fan on the planet. The Wildcats super fan is a fixture at the basketball program’s biggest events.

Friday, the program had its Big Blue Madness event, and of course, Drake was there. He even spoke to the crowd and gave a hug to his friend, head coach John Calipari. He also wore a hoodie that read “Kentucky Dad.”

Speaking to the crowd, Drake called himself “a Wildcat through and through.”

The Canadian hip-hop star added that he’ll one day put on a free concert for students.

“I want my players and anyone out there to know if you want to emulate excellence, yet maintain humility, emulate Drake,” Calipari told the Courier-Journal. “If you want to emulate a strong drive, embracing the biggest stage and the goodness of a compassionate heart, you emulate Drake.”

In case you’re wondering, no — Drake didn’t put up any jumpers at this Big Blue Madness.

NFL longsnapper Jon Dorenbos shares story of his emergency open heart surgery

The talented NFL longsnapper and musician Jon Dorenbos had a serious health scare last month. After the Eagles traded him to the Saints, Dorenbos had a physical with his new team. Doctors discovered the 37-year-old had an aortic aneurysm.

Thursday, Dorenbos shared details of his emergency open heart surgery.

One month ago today I underwent emergency open heart surgery. My wife never left my side. She held my hand every step of the way. Life is crazy. One min I was a professional athlete, the next min I was fighting for my life. The video in this collage shows how the simplest things in life we sometimes take for granted. May we all be thankful for the beautiful people and world that surround us every day. To the UPENN Cardiac Care Nurses (Silver10) you all are #Saints – thank you! You make this world a better place. #SpecialPeople – Dr Bavaria, whom performed my surgery, I love you man!! You are a genius. You are an artist. You are a savant. Thank you for making valve replacement and aortic aneurysms your thing!! You are the best in the world for a reason. This world is a better place with you in it #ImAlive #goodDay

A post shared by Jon Dorenbos (@jondorenbos) on

“Life is crazy,” Dorenbos wrote. “One min I was a professional athlete, the next min I was fighting for my life…may we all be thankful for the beautiful people and world that surround us every day.”

In the caption he expressed gratitude for the medical staff that saved his life. It seems unlikely that Dorenbos will play in the NFL again, but there is certainly a happy ending to this story.

Klay Thompson and Roger Federer plan epic ping-pong match

Roger Federer

Roger Federer is one of the greatest tennis competitors of all-time. Klay Thompson is one of the greatest shooters in the history of basketball. So, any athletic competition between these two would be a treat.

It appears there is potential for a legendary ping-pong match between the two. It started with Warriors coach Steve Kerr relaying a conversation between the athletes that happened last week in Shanghai.


Former Lions LB testifies that team tried to silence him from speaking out about CTE

DeAndre Levy played eight seasons for the Detroit Lions before being released in March. Now the former linebacker is speaking out against CTE, and he claims the Lions tried to stop him from doing so when he was a player. He testified as much in front of a congressional subcommittee on brain injuries in football.

“The moment I said anything about it, I had two calls telling me I shouldn’t talk about it,” Levy said, via “I don’t know if it was because it was CTE, or if it was because it’s just the general NFL rule of, like, only football. Only talk about football, only think about football. I posted simply the research…and I was told not to talk about it the first day it was out. And I’m just, like, you know, it could have just been locker room culture. Nobody wants to talk about anything other than football. But it didn’t sit well with me when I’m talking about brain injuries.”

Levy criticized Lions ownership for failing to properly educate the players about the risks of brain injuries.

“I don’t think the owners are in touch with it,” Levy said. “It’s a business. We’re a number. Our brains and bodies are disposable. I can’t speak for every team — I’ve only been with one team — but, I mean, I never sat down and talked with the owner. So there’s no connection [with] the players. Right now, we’re the only ones that will even care about the issue.”

The Lions have responded with a statement via ProFootballTalk: “We are aware of his comments, and we strongly disagree with his claim that anyone from our organization tried to silence him.”

J.R. Smith reveals his truly insane coffee order

The future of the Road Trippin’ podcast, featuring NBA veterans Richard Jefferson and Channing Frye, may be in doubt.

Jefferson was traded to the Hawks Friday. Before the trade, however, the veteran duo put out their 50th episode, featuring sharpshooter J.R. Smith.

In that conversation, Smith said he was “hurt” by being benched in favor of Dwyane Wade. He also shared a fascinating anecdote: he has a truly crazy coffee order.

During the podcast, it was revealed that the Cavs’ trainers visit Dunkin Donuts for coffee before every game. Jefferson prompted Smith to reveal how he takes his coffee.

“Extra Large coffee, eight and eight,” Smith said.

That means before every game, the sharpshooter drinks an Extra Large hot coffee with eight creams and eight sugars. This explains a lot about Smith’s unmatched on-court energy.

You can listen to the full podcast here.