News items on Ohio college and professional sports
Two weeks ago, Dustin Fox was running routes as a wide receiver on Buffalo’s practice squad. Today, he’s back at his rightful position, defensive back.
Fox could play in today’s game at Jacksonville.
The Bills activated Fox on Friday from the practice squad, where he spent the last seven weeks. Buffalo signed Fox after Philadelphia cut the former third-round draft pick back in September.
“I thought there was a chance because I’d been practicing really well,” Fox said. “I thought it could happen sooner, but right now we’re depleted at defensive back so it’s the right time.”
To make room for Fox, the Bills released linebacker Leon Joe. Buffalo needs depth at cornerback because Jeramertrius Butler (calf) is questionable today. That meant Buffalo could’ve had just three healthy cornerbacks -- Jarai Greer, Terrence McGee and Ashton Youboty -- for today’s game if Butler can’t go. Fox spent seven weeks on the Bills’ practice squad. He will wear No. 35 today if active.
The life of a practice squad player isn’t glorious. Every team is allowed to sign as many as nine practice squad players, who are paid a minimum of $4,700 a week. Those salaries are not guaranteed.
Buffalo has just two receivers on its practice squad. When the Bills were preparing for New England, Fox spent time running routes as a receiver.
Defensive coaches were not too happy when one of their guys made a couple of catches on the No. 1 defense.
“Getting activated to the roster makes all the hard work you do in practice worthwhile,” Fox said. “All you do on the practice squad is practice for no reason other than to prepare your guys for the team they’re going to play. This is a great reward for busting you butt.”
The reward is quite a bounty, too. Because of his experience, Fox will get a raise of about $12,000 a week from his practice squad check each week he remains on the roster.
Being on the practice squad can be a rough adjustment for a former All-Big Ten player like Fox was at Ohio State. But it’s also a blessing because there aren’t many jobs that pay that well to practice.
“There are times when you’re like, ‘I should be playing. I know I’m good enough,’” Fox said. “Then there are times you think about the guys sitting at home who are talented enough to be here, and they’re looking for jobs. I’m getting a check every week and I get to guard Lee Evans in practice and improve.”
Plans call for Fox to be active for today’s game.
“I thought I’d get another opportunity to get on a team,” Fox said. “I know I can play. I just needed to find the right fit, and hopefully it’s here.”
Circumstances out of his control can take his spot away. Last year, the Eagles activated him, and he played on Monday Night Football. Three days later, he was back on the practice squad. An injury at another position meant Philadelphia needed to send Fox to the practice squad and activate another player.
“I know it can be taken away as quickly as it came,” Fox said. “I’m going to do my best to keep my spot.”
Peterson back in Denver
For the third time this season, the Denver Broncos signed Kenny Peterson.
The former McKinley and OSU standout played a great deal in Monday’s game and may have had his best game as a pro, but it didn’t show in the final stat report. Peterson stoned Titan running back Lendell White on a run that didn’t count because Tennessee was penalized. He was credited with a quarterback hurry.
Peterson was re-signed as the Broncos tinker with their defensive line. He gives them flexibility because he can play inside or out, but Denver looked to work him more at tackle than end in his first game.
Browns valued by fans
Sports Illustrated conducted an online poll of fans. After more than 17,000 responses, the magazine ranked NFL stadiums based on fans’ experiences.
Cleveland fans will be happy to know that Cleveland Browns Stadium finished third behind Heinz Field in Pittsburgh and Green Bay’s Lambeau Field.
The rankings are based on tickets (price and availability), food and souvenirs, accessibility, tailgating, the team, atmosphere and neighborhood.
Here is what SI had to say about Browns Stadium:
Tickets: Average price is $48.79 and range from $32 to $272. “The Browns have had one winning season since their comeback in 1999, and the place continues to sell out -- or close to it; hopefully that sheds some light on the fans’ dedication. ... If the team is playing well, the fans will go nuts, regardless of the record. ... Years of frustration have taken their toll on our game day attitude. ... The beginning of the season always brings optimism, so the atmosphere is tremendous but it fades as losses mount. ... Everyone is diehard, but often depressed.”
Food: “The most important part about going to a Browns game -- or any Cleveland sporting event for that matter -- is getting a hot dog with Stadium Mustard. ... Fans cannot live on mustard alone, though, and that’s where a trip behind the Dawg Pound to the Legends club and its plethora of flat-screen TVs, four bars, a clear view of the game and a ton of taps comes in.”
Tailgating: “Arrive at the 'Muni' at 7:30 a.m., tap the keg, fire up the grill, set up the cornhole pits and live it up until about noon, when we all trek to the stadium while chastising every single fan of the opposing team.”
Atmosphere: “It’s a very professional stadium, with roomy seats, unobstructed views and plenty of bathrooms and concessions stands. The problem is it doesn’t have the grit a Cleveland Browns stadium should have. It's like walking into a hospital. And a fan-conduct policy has made the infamous Dawg Pound too controlled while the relocation of the section’s seats a bit farther away from the field has neutralized it.”
To read the review, go to: http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2007/football/nfl/10/26/fvi.browns/
Impressive OSU stat
Jim Tressel has taken the Buckeyes to five BCS bowl games since being hired in 2001. The rest of the Big Ten has combined to go to just six in the same time. No wonder Lloyd Carr retired.