One of the NFL's first big stars, Minnesota native Gordy Soltau, died Sunday. He was 89.
Soltau, born in Duluth, played offense, defense and special teams for the Gophers after serving in World War II. He was teammates with Bud Grant, Jim Malosky, Clayton Tonnemaker and Verne Gagne. The Duluth Central graduate was drafted by the Green Bay Packers but played nine seasons for the San Francisco 49ers. He retired as the team's all-time leading scorer with 644 points. That's still fifth in team history.
Soltau, (No. 51 behind the runner) in 1951 against New York (AP photo)
There's also a statement from the 49ers
Kevin Love has written a piece for the recently created website, The Players Tribune, that allows athletes to write their own stories. His post -- "How I Spent My Summer Vacation" -- details the transition from playing for the Timberwolves to joining Cleveland in the trade that brought Andrew Wiggins, the No. 1 pick in the June draft, to Minnesota.
Love wrote:"I can imagine how he was feeling. From the excitement of being the No. 1 draft pick to the uncertainty of where he was headed, he was poised and impressive.I know what it’s like to have your heart jump every time your phone buzzes. I know what it’s like to talk to your agent multiple times a day. I know what it’s like to read about your future from 'sources' on Twitter. I was on the other side of it. It was exhausting."
Love skips the contract drama in Minnesota and goes to the good stuff. His thoughts about playing for the Wolves and leaving Minnesota for Cleveland.
"I grew up a lot – personally and professionally – during my time with the Wolves. I’ll be the first to tell you that I didn’t always handle things perfectly. We are all unfinished products. It’s not easy to handle the disappointment of losing when you’re in your early twenties. There were times when I wasn’t easy to be around in the locker room. It’s hard to be a leader when you don’t have the model — and when you don’t have a blueprint for what winning in the NBA looks like."
The piece goes on to details what it's been like to be with the Cavaliers, focusing on what he learned from veterans James Jones and Mike Miller from talking to them during a trip to Brazil, where the Cavaliers played an exhibition game against Miami -- an exhibition game of raised profile because of LeBron James.
Love makes the case that things he could have learned from them simply weren't available with the Wolves: "James and Mike talked about the sacrifice needed to win in the playoffs, not just about sacrificing shot attempts or stats, but the stuff off the court. ...I thought about myself at 21, 22 years old. Hearing these guys talk about what it takes, I realized that maybe I wasn’t totally in the mindset for that level of sacrifice back then."
And his level of sacrifice with Cleveland? He dismissed talk about whether he's the second or third option on a team that includes James and star point guard Kyrie Irving. "I’ve never played in a playoff game. I came to Cleveland because I want to win. I’ll grab a broom and sweep the floors if it gets me an NBA title."
You can read the entire piece here.
So the Gophers are 6-1 and probably the hottest team in college football that hasn't cracked the Associated Press Top 25.
And Michigan is struggling enough that coach Brady Hoke is seen to be in trouble.
Enter the speculators.
On the Sports Illustrated web site this morning, it was noted that "speculation season" in college football is beginning -- and that it includes the head coaching jobs at Florida and Michigan.
And, about Michigan, writers Pete Thamel and Thayer Evans include this:
"Jerry Kill would be a wonderful fit in Ann Arbor, as all he’s done is win at Southern Illinois, Northern Illinois and now Minnesota. Kill’s epilepsy, which caused him to miss a handful of weeks during the 2013 season, could hurt his candidacy. After that, there are not a lot of obvious names. One wildcard scenario is that Arkansas athletic director Jeff Long takes the AD job if it opens and brings Bret Bielema with him. Other AD candidates could include UConn’s Warde Manuel and Boston College’s Brad Bates."
That's four coaching names -- and an athletic director overhaul -- in 80 words. So there's your context.
Not long after that, the Kill situation became a headline on The Daily Gophers blog that began: "Jerry Kill To Michigan Head Coach Possibility Raised..."
If you read the entire piece, you'll see it concludes: "Kill isn't a serious candidate for the Michigan job no matter what the media says in the coming weeks."
It's still enough to fan the flames for people looking to create something without much context (which isn't at all the fault of the blogger in this case). Just get ready to hear more and more of the same, especially if the season continues to go as well as Gophers fans are hoping it will.
Then, of course, if there's men's basketball success, we can hear the same things about Richard Pitino, right?
Well this was ... unexpected.
Former Gophers men's basketball coach Tubby Smith, now at Texas Tech, put on quite the show at the team's kickoff 'Showtime' event.
Dressed as Shaft, Tubby Smith drives a motorcycle on to the court. Crashes it. Then asked if he scratched the court. Awesome.— Blayne Beal (@BlayneBeal) October 18, 2014
There's even video.
No injuries were reported.
It was just four years ago Smith entered the Gophers' kickoff event at Williams Arena on a motorcycle and DIDN'T wind up wiped out on the court.
Yadier Moliva strained an oblique muscle in game 2 of the National League Championship Series.
So look who's starting for St. Louis:
#STLCards at San Francisco (NLCS Game 3): Carpenter 3B Jay CF Holliday LF Adams 1B Peralta SS Pierzynski C Wong 2B Grichuk RF Lackey RHP— St. Louis Cardinals (@Cardinals) October 14, 2014
It's A.J. Pierzynski, whom Twins fans have made sport of booing since he was traded from the Twins to San Francisco many, many (11) years ago.
As rough as Twins crowds have been on Pierzynski, he's even more reviled in San Francisco, where he played for one season and had an assortment of issues fitting in with his teammates. He ended up with the White Sox and played there before stints with Texas and Boston. He joined the Cardinals after the Red Sox released him in July.
Here's how his return to San Francisco is being received on Twitter:
If you’re going to the game today, don’t forget to tell AJ Pierzynski that he’s the worst in the world. Not that you needed the reminder.— Patrick (@patrickjcs) October 14, 2014
Here's to hoping #SFGiants score 10 runs off Lackey and steal 20 bases against Pierzynski.— Eric Nathanson (@2outhits) October 14, 2014
I need to find a way to watch the beginning of the #SFGiants game today just to be able to hear the crowd boo Pierzynski.— Triangle Man (@TriangleManNC) October 14, 2014
the fact that Pierzynski is catching gives me even more reason to root for the giants— Amelia Rosch (@LifesARosch) October 14, 2014
Sorry Cardinals fans, I have a strict no rooting for AJ Pierzynski policy.— Walt Scher (@Ctrl_Walt_Dlt) October 14, 2014
The booing starts at 3 p.m.
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