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ght have been a guy living up in the tree." Johnson found th

Postby kaisy on Thu Sep 05, 2013 2:15 am

HAMILTON, Ont. -- Martell Mallett entertained offers to remain in the NFL but the opportunity to be a starter with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats was too good to pass up. So two seasons after bursting on to the CFL scene, Mallett is back in Canada anxious to prove hes better now than he was in 09 when he was named the leagues top rookie while with the B.C. Lions. "There were other opportunities in the NFL, but not having any up-to-date film I just didnt want to go out there and be just another guy," Mallett said following Hamiltons training camp session Wednesday. "I wanted them to know who I was so I went ahead and came up here to play football. "I expect to be better than last time I was here. It can be done." A lofty expectation, indeed, considering in 09, the six-foot, 195-pound Mallett ran for 1,240 yards with B.C., including a club-record 213 yards in a game against Montreal. The 26-year-old native of Pine Bluff, Ark., was a West Division all-star and capped his season being named the CFLs top rookie. Mallett parlayed that success into a contract with the Philadelphia Eagles, the start of a two-year roller-coaster ride that saw him spend time with three NFL clubs -- including two stints with the Eagles -- before returning to the CFL. After initially signing with the Eagles, Mallett was waived twice by the NFL club before being added to the practice roster Sept. 5. However, Philadelphia released him again 16 days later. The Cleveland Browns placed Mallett on their practice roster Sept. 28, 2010, but let him go in November. Mallett re-signed with Philadelphia on Jan. 5, 2011, and went back on the practice roster but became a free agent following the Eagles NFC playoff loss. Mallett then signed with the New York Giants on Jan. 11, 2011 but eventually went on injured reserve with a hamstring ailment before reaching an injury settlement Aug. 25. Mallett signed with Hamilton on Jan. 30. Despite bouncing around the NFL, Mallett isnt bitter about his experience south of the border and doesnt regret his decision to sign there following his impressive CFL debut. "It was a great experience," Mallett said. "I had success there, I just didnt get a chance to prove myself because of injuries. "Its a business and when you get injured, its just part of the game. But I always have something to prove, Im never satisfied." The addition of Mallett gives Hamilton more than just an accomplished runner in the backfield. He can also provide solid blocking in pass protection while also having the ability to catch passes -- he had 43 receptions for 342 yards and two touchdowns with B.C. Malletts versatility gives the Ticats plenty of flexibility on offence and was a reason why the club released veteran Avon Cobourne -- who ran for 961 yards last year -- after Mallett signed in Hamilton. "Hes a good player," said new Ticats head coach George Cortex. "Hes a good protector, he can run and catch the ball out of the backfield. "He and Chevon (rookie Chevon Walker) are the kind of backs we want in the backfield. We dont want a one-dimensional guy." Mallett said running backs must be versatile in todays game. "Its very important," he said. "Back in the day if you could run the football you were good but now with the difference offences you have to also be able to block and catch coming out of the backfield. "Ive worked hard on that in the past and developed those attributes." But opposing defences wont have the luxury of keying solely on Mallett this season. Ticats GM Bob OBillovich spent a lot of time this off-season revamping his offence. He traded for veteran quarterback Henry Burris and dipped into free agency to land slotback Andy Fantuz before signing 2008 first-round pick Sam Giguere, a receiver from Sherbrooke who after being drafted by the Ticats opted to instead spend time in the NFL with the Indianapolis Colts and Giants. The arrival of Giguere and Fantuz solidifies an already solid Ticats receiving corps that features veteran slotback Dave Stala along with talented youngsters Chris Williams -- the CFLs top rookie last year -- Bakari Grant, Aaron Kelly and Terence Jeffers-Harris. But the abundance of offensive weapons does create the challenge of trying to give everyone sufficient touches with just one football to go around. But Mallett, for one, isnt concerning himself with how many times he gets the ball. "Whether its passing or running, it doesnt matter so long as were winning," he said. "Either way, you have to be a team player." Mallett joins a Ticats squad that has reached the CFL playoffs three straight years but last season finished third in the East Division with an 8-10 record. But Hamilton ended Montreals two-year Grey Cup reign in the conference semifinal before losing 19-3 to Winnipeg in the division championship. Mallett leaves no doubt that the team has higher expectations this year -- much higher. "We have to rise up another notch and get over the hump," he said. "I think with the team we have, once we get clicking together well be good." Brandon Marshall Authentic Jersey . That wasnt the case this time. Devin Harris scored 20 points, Josh Smith added 18 and the surging Hawks beat Charlotte 113-90 on Thursday night to hand the Bobcats their 10th straight defeat. Brandon Marshall Pink Jersey . -- Three months into the season, Rory McIlroy feels as if its already been a long year. . However, they lost out on two other targets, leaving their bench light on scoring. Jamal Crawford passed on a return to New York, and Shawne Williams, a Knick last season, planned to sign with the Nets later Thursday, according to his agent. Brandon Marshall Bears Jersey . The club announced on Thursday that the 20-year-old is week-to-week with a hip flexor injury that he suffered after falling in practice on Tuesday. Brandon Marshall Elite Jersey . "I dont what hes talking about. I was preaching about the hits like [Max Paciorettys hit on Kris Letang] tonight, not a scrum," explained Crosby. KAPALUA, Hawaii -- Dustin Johnson disappeared into a small valley of bushes and high grass as he searched for another errant tee shot, this one costing him a double bogey and making the final round of the Tournament of Champions far more exciting than he needed it to be. Undaunted by his mistakes or the thought of blowing a big lead, he blasted driver on the next hole despite the potential for more trouble. This one was pure, rolling back off the front of the green. Johnson chipped in from 50 feet for eagle and he was on his way. Such a wild sequence -- double bogey-eagle -- is par for the course for this big-hitting American. And it was only appropriate that this weird, windy start to the PGA Tour season would end Tuesday with such a wild ride. Johnson had a five-shot lead after seven holes. His lead was down to one shot with five holes to play. He wound up closing with a 5-under 68 for a four-shot victory over defending champion Steve Stricker. "It was nowhere near ho-hum," Johnson said. Nothing was. The winners-only tournament didnt start until the fourth day because of gusts that topped 40 mph, forcing officials to shorten it to 54 holes. Once it finally got under way, it was over in 29 hours. Perhaps it was only fitting that a tournament delayed by a powerful wind was won by a guy who overpowered the Plantation Course at Kapalua. "It definitely got close out there today," Johnson said. "Sometimes I hit a couple of bad drives, but I was always able to bounce back and do what I needed to do to stay out front." He never felt truly in command until the final two holes, which are downhill. Paulina Gretzky, the daughter of hockey great Wayne Gretzky, was spotted with Johnson all week and watched from the gallery as he finished without drama at 16-under 203. Johnson won for the sixth straight season since leaving college at Coastal Carolina, the longest streak since Tiger Woods won in 14 straight years. Only Phil Mickelson (nine) has a longer active streak of most consecutive years with a PGA Tour win. "It looks like very little fear in him," Stricker said. "Because hell hit one a little crooked, but hell pull out that driver again and try it again. And he pulled it off, especially at 14. That was the deciding shot and chip for the tournament. Expect a lot of good things as he continues his career." And dont expect it to ever be dull. Johnson has all the tools for greatness, though his decision-making remains open to criticism. Instead of hitting an iron off the 13th tee -- its tough to get it close to the pin even with a short iron -- he went with driver and invited all sorts of trouble. Remember, this is the guy who lost a three-shot lead in the final round of the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach by rushing through wild shots in a round of 82. He lost a shot at another major by not realizing he was in a bunker on the last hole at Whistling Straits. "Ive done it enough times that it doesnt really bother me anymore," Johnson said. "Ive been in this situation enough now and Ive made enough double bogeys in my life. You know, its just another hole, and youve got a lot more holes to go where you can make it up. Fortunately, today I made a double and then the next hole I maade eagle.dddddddddddd That definitely was the turning point of the day, because walking off 13, I was like, Oh, no, here it goes again. "But I came right back, focused and hit two great shots." Johnson also added a peculiar footnote to his record. He now has won the last three PGA Tour events reduced to 54 holes because of weather -- rain at Pebble Beach in 2009, a hurricane at The Barclays in 2011 and gusts that topped 40 mph in Hawaii from a freak weather pattern that led to a bizarre season opener. Stricker put up a good fight on one good leg. He has been feeling a shooting pain down his left side on every shot and limped his way around the most mountainous course on tour for 54 holes in two days. He closed with a 69. "I knew it was going to be tough, but I gave it a run for a little while," Stricker said. Brandt Snedeker went 5 under during a four-hole stretch on the front nine to get within one shot of the lead until he closed out the front nine with three straight bogeys. Snedeker had a 69 and finished alone in third, six shots behind. He moved to No. 8 in the world ranking, second only to Woods among Americans. Masters champion Bubba Watson (71) and former PGA champion Keegan Bradley (70) were another shot back. Johnson overcame the first threat from Snedeker with back-to-back birdies, and just like that, he was ahead by five and looked unbeatable. His tee shot on the par-5 ninth sailed right into a patch of knee-high grass and short bushes, and Johnson never found it. Without showing any fear, he stepped up and smashed another driver dead into the wind, and then reached the green in two to salvage a two-putt bogey. He nearly drove the 12th green downwind for a birdie and a three-shot lead over Stricker, and thats when the fun began. Johnson hit driver on the 13th and pulled it enough to land into a bunker and tumble into a native area of high grass, trees and plenty more. "We found a shoe, some sunglasses, about five or six other balls," said Stricker, who joined in the search. "There might have been a guy living up in the tree." Johnson found the ball, but it took two swings to get it back in play, and he had to two-putt from about 50 feet just to escape with double bogey. He thought his lead was gone as he watched Stricker, so smooth with a putter in hand, stand over his 20-foot birdie putt. It turned away at the last second. With trouble to the right on the 14th, Johnson was predictable as ever. He pulled driver. "He hit a couple of wayward drives and opened the door for me a little bit, and then he stepped up there with a driver again (on 14), and Im like, OK. But then he piped it, and chips it in," Stricker said with a smile. "Most guys would have been pulling out an iron or some utility club. Its amazing that he even did that, to tell you the truth." How good can Johnson be? "I still dont think Ive lived up to my potential," Johnson said. "I played really well, but still made some mistakes. But youre always going to make some mistakes. Just limiting those will definitely help, and then for me, just making some better decisions. "If I keep playing golf like Im playing right now, then obviously there is no limit." ' ' '
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