Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Niners lock up linebacker Ahmad Brooks to long deal

Daily 49ers blog for NBC Bay Area website: San Francisco gives outside linebacker Ahmad Brooks a new, long deal after Brooks turned in the best season of his NFL career in 2011.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

In a copycat league, might 49ers copy the Pats?

Daily 49ers blog for NBC Bay Area website: One way for the 49ers to upgrade their receiving corps might be to copy the Patriots and add another dynamic tight end in the draft.

For Leap Day, let us celebrate history's greatest leaps

What do Bob Beamon, Dr. J., Baxter the dog, Evel Kneivel and Rosie the Ribeter all have in common? Each has leaped where no man (or canine or frog) has gone before. A celebration of their leaps into history in honor of Feb. 29, Leap Day, the rarest of dates. My story for's Page 2:

She's back in rhythm and headed to the Olympics

After failing to qualify for the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, rhythmic gymnast Julie Zetlin couldn't imagine spending four more years of training and competition to get to this summer's London Games. But as time went on and she steadily improved, she said "Why not?" and gave it her best shot. Now, she's earned a trip to London and couldn't be happier. My story for the U.S. Olympic website:

Monday, February 27, 2012

New-look Raiders eye talent, despite lack of picks

Daily Raiders blog for NBC Bay Area website: The Raiders have only fifth- and sixth-round choices in April's NFL draft, but they still wanted to study the talent at the Combine in Indianapolis this past weekend.

Niners study WRs, but that's no guarantee they'll take one in the first round

Daily 49ers blog for NBC Bay Area website: GM Trent Baalke says pool of wide receivers is deep, meaning the team won't necessarily spend its first-round choice on a wideout. Plus, there's free agency to fill that need.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Parra recalls raw emotions of 2002 Olympics in wake of 9/11

Derek Parra won gold and silver medals at the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics, but 10 years after those Games, the emotions and spirit he felt at those Games -- held so soon after the terrorist attacks of 9/11 -- are still vivid to the U.S. speedskating star. My story for the U.S. Olympic website:

Friday, February 24, 2012

Jeopardy for Feb. 24 on

Who's the only NBA player ever to have a double triple-double ... at least 20 or more points, rebounds and assists in a single game? My Jeopardy for's Page 2:

McKenzie won't swoon over speed

Daily Raiders blog for NBC Bay Area website: New Raiders GM Reggie McKenzie, who says several roster moves may be forthcoming, says he won't become infatuated by the 40-yard dash times of players at the NFL Combine. He prefers to look at a player's whole package of talent and character, not just his speed -- unlike former Raiders owner Al Davis.

Baalke will be 'methodical' with offseason plan

Daily 49ers blog for NBC Bay Area website: GM Trent Baalke, in Indianapolis for the NFL Combine, says he and his staff have been busy evaluating their own roster, potential free agents and draftees, and they have a plan for the offseason. He says he will be methodical in executing it.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

The unusual and odd of the 2002 Winter Olympics

An Olympics isn't just all about the big events and the gold medals. Sometimes, it's the odd stories -- the unusual personalities and events -- that give the Games their true color. Ten years after the Salt Lake City Olympics came to a close, we remember some of the unusual stories of those Winter Games. My story for the U.S. Olympic website:

Steelers' Wallace is attractive, but too costly for 49ers

Daily 49ers blog for NBC Bay Area website: Because of salary cap issues, the Steelers may be willing to let wide receiver Mike Wallace slip away to another team. But as dynamic as the young star is, the restricted free agent may be too costly for the 49ers, who may be able to get what they need via an unrestricted free agent or the draft.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Whitner still feels pain of loss in NFC Championship Game

Daily 49ers blog for NBC Bay Area website: Safety Donte Whitner, who told the NFL Network Tuesday he still feels the sting of the overtime loss to the Giants in the NFC title game, says he believes the Niners defense can be even better in 2012 with a second year under defensive coordinator Vic Fangio.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Vonetta Flowers made history with 2002 bobsled run

Her young sons may not yet understand what Vonetta Flowers accomplished back in 2002, but at the Salt Lake City Olympics, Flowers made history by becoming the first African-American athlete to win a gold medal at a Winter Olympics as she and driver Jill Bakken won the gold medal in women's bobsled. For Flowers, a former track standout at Alabama Birmingham, it the culmination of a lifetime of Olympic dreams ... but in a far different arena than she'd imagined. My story on Flowers for the U.S. Olympic site on the 10th anniversary of the Salt Lake City Games.

What is it worth to 49ers to keep Ginn?

Daily 49ers blog for NBC Bay Area website: Ted Ginn Jr. hasn't made much of an impact as a receiver, but as a return man, his presence has been huge. Now the 49ers must decide whether he's worth keeping, as they deal with a number of salary issues in the offseason.

Monday, February 20, 2012

At 2002 Games, Clark and Powers put Vermont on the map

It's not often that Vermont gets into the national headlines. But on back-to-back days at the 2002 Winter Olympics, Vermonters Kelly Clark and Ross Powers put on golden performances in winning the women's and men's snowboard halfpipe events in front of energized crowds and a national TV audience. On the 10th anniversary of the Games, Clark and Ross still revel in their golden moments. My story for the U.S. Olympic website:

Education coordinator at Escondido History Center driven by curiosity

Robin Fox has been studying Escondido's history for many years. Now the education coordinator at the Escondido History Center, Fox says her studies of past people and events often make her wish she could venture into the past to discover the answers to many of her questions. For instance, there's an old black-and-white photo above her desk of the city's first librarian that makes her want to know more about the young woman's life. My story for the San Diego Union-Tribune.

After his best season, Rogers wants to stay a 49er

Daily 49ers blog for NBC Bay Area website: Cornerback Carlos Rogers will be much more expensive to sign this season than last, when the 49ers got him for a $4.25 million one-year deal. Now Rogers, coming off his Pro Bowl season, wants to stay with the team -- and the Niners appear to want him.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Skeleton stars of 2002 recall their Olympic thrills

Jimmy Shea and Tristan Gale both won gold medals at the Salt Lake City Olympics in 2002. On the Games' 10th anniversary, they remember the incredible crowds at the skeleton run at Park City, where fans chanted "USA! USA!" and created an electric atmosphere for a sport making its return to the Winter Olympics for the first time since the 1920s. My story on She and Gale for the U.S. Olympic website:

The pleasures and pitfalls of working from home

More and more people find themselves working from a home office. Telecommuting has become a better option for some employees of big companies, and layoffs of workers during the recession have forced  many to start their own, home-based businesses. What's it like to work from home? If you're a self-starter and not easily distracted, it can be wonderful. But there are some pitfalls that come with pleasures. My story for the San Diego Union-Tribune on the pluses and minuses, and tips, for working at home.

Don't do it, 49ers; stay away from Randy Moss

Daily 49ers blog for NBC Bay Area website: Randy Moss looks enticing, even at age 35, a physical specimen who's proven he can be a big-play, high-impact wide receiver in the NFL. But the 49ers should stay far away from the troubled wideout who's now looking for a team.

Jeopardy for Feb. 17 on

Before there was "Linsanity," this late-season promotion from the CBA took the NBA by storm in 1979: My Jeopardy for's Page 2:

Safety Dashon Goldson wants to remain a 49er

Daily 49ers blog for NBC Bay Area website: Dashon Goldson made a big impact on the 49ers secondary in 2011 in many ways. Now a free agent, he wants to stay in San Francisco, and the 49ers want him, too. The team may use its franchise tag to keep him.

All those smiles are a good thing

Santee dentist Dr. Albert Klitzke has been working with patients for more than 25 years and has tangible proof he's doing good work in the world. The former Navy dentist and head of a Native American dentistry operation in San Diego's east county now has a private practice, and he can look through the before-and-after photos he keeps in a binder in his office to see the smiles and happy faces of patients through the years. My profile of Klitzke for the "On the Job" series for Santee Patch:

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Chargers' Jackson would be perfect catch for 49ers

Daily 49ers blog for NBC Bay Area website: If the 49ers want to upgrade their wide receiver corps, they should go after Vincent Jackson hard when free agency kicks off in March. If the Chargers let Jackson go, he'd be a perfect fit in San Francisco.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Best thing for Kaepernick is another season on bench

Daily 49ers blog for NBC Bay Area website: Colin Kaepernick wants to play. He wants to show the 49ers and the NFL that he can be a winning quarterback. But the likely scenario is, Kaepernick will watching games from the sideline again this season. But that's not a bad thing, in the long run, for Kaepernick's career.

Snowboarder Chris Klug recalls his amazing adventure in 2002 Olympics

Just 19 months after receiving a liver via transplant, U.S. snowboarder Chris Klug won a bronze medal at Park City in the 2002 Olympics. Now, on the 10th anniversary of those Salt Lake City Games, Klug's life is full of new adventures, including fatherhood and a desire to climb the Seven Summits -- the highest peaks on all seven continents. But when he thinks back to the day of his medal race in 2002, he can remember it all with crystal clarity, including the way snow fell on a brilliant, sunny day. His story, for the U.S. Olympic website:

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

His name is Lawn, and he'll take care of your grass

The first question anybody asks Scott Lawn is always, "Is that your real name?" Yes it is. Lawn was in several other lines of work before buying his lawn-aeration and landscaping business 20 years ago. But, once he did, he never wanted to do anything else. My profile of Lawn (the shorter online version of the print story) for the North County "On the Job" series in the San Diego Union-Tribune.

Key upgrade for 49ers might already be on roster

Daily 49ers blog for NBC Bay Area website: Joshua Morgan was a starting receiver for the 49ers before he broke his leg in game in October. Now, as the team looks to upgrade its receiving corps, Morgan has become almost an overlooked element.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Baalke's contract extension ensures 49ers' continuity

Daily 49ers blog for NBC Bay Area website: San Francisco extended the contract of GM Trent Baalke another three years, ensuring the 49ers will have continuity of leadership for seasons to come.

His career is solar-powered

It's appropriate that Adam Rizzo's career path took some twisting, unexpected turns only to wind up in the land of (almost) eternal sunshine, in San Diego County. It's a place where he's now put down deep roots and been energized by jumping into the solar power industry. His profile for my On the Job series for the San Diego Union-Tribune:

Sunday, February 12, 2012

U.S. hockey players have silver memories of 2002

The Salt Lake City Olympics of 2002 were a great experience for the U.S. men's and women's hockey teams ... right up to the championship games, when both lost to Canada. Brian Leetch and Natalie Darwitz both share "what could have been" recollections of those Games, which celebrate their 10th anniversary this month. My story for the U.S. Olympic website:

Routt's release signals big changes for Raiders

Daily Raiders blog for NBC Bay Area website: New Raiders GM Reggie McKenzie said there would be big changes coming on his team's roster, and he said many salaries were "out of whack." The release of cornerback Stanford Routt is likely just the first of many such moves.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Jeopardy for Feb. 10 for

That runaway cat on the Premier League soccer pitch has his own Twitter account. What's his name? My Jeopardy for's Page 2:

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Clearly, Alex Smith will return to 49ers

Daily 49ers blog for NBC Bay Area website: Coach Jim Harbaugh was very direct this week when he talked about whether Alex Smith will return to play QB for his team in 2012. Yes, all signs point to Smith returning.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

With Bowman's rise, 49ers have a dynamic duo

Daily 49ers blog for NBC Bay Area website: When Takeo Spikes left the 49ers in the summer of 2011, there were worries the team's defense would have a major hole in it. But the emergence of NaVorro Bowman at inside linebacker this past season now gives the 49ers a dynamic twosome at inside linebacker, a pair of All-Pro, athletic LBs for many seasons to come.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Key dates for 49ers' busy offseason

Daily 49ers blog for NBC Bay Area website: It's only eight months until kickoff for the first game of the 2012 NFL season! Between now and then, a look at some key dates for the Niners.

Monday, February 6, 2012

The Salt Lake City Olympics, 10 years after

Ten years ago this month, Salt Lake City hosted the Winter Olympics. Before the Games began, there were worries about security because of the 9/11 attacks just a few months before. But the Utah Games went off without a hitch, and Team USA won an astounding 34 medals, almost tripling its best previous effort. Though the chants of "USA, USA" have long faded, the legacy of those Games lives on in the Salt Lake area in the form of great memories and great facilities that now train future U.S. Olympians. The first story of several for the U.S. Olympic website, looking back at the Games on their 10th anniversary.

Coach of the Year Harbaugh focused on long-term success

Daily 49ers blog for NBC Bay Area website: Jim Harbaugh was named AP's NFL Coach of the Year Saturday. Was his job a one-time wave of the magic wand, or will his work be the foundation for long-term success?

Friday, February 3, 2012

Who's Da Man? For Niners, it's Justin Smith

Daily 49ers blog for NBC BayArea website. Justin Smith may not win Defensive Player of the Year in the NFL, but he most certainly is the 49ers' defensive player of the year, a pillar of strength around which the whole defense revolves.

Jeopardy for Feb. 3 for

So what will this "enormous bloody thing" be? My Jeopardy for's Page 2:

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Alex Smith may be in line for Comeback award

Daily 49ers blog for NBC Bay Area website: Alex Smith came back to the 49ers for one more year, and now he may win the Comeback Player of the Year award in the NFL when it's given out Saturday night.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Super Bowl, and Pats, aren't all about Glitter

The Daily Mail of England reported disgraced rocker Gary Glitter will make a mint off royalties from his song "Rock and Roll Part II" when it's played Sunday in the Super Bowl by the Patriots, who use it as their touchdown-celebration song. Only one problem .... the Pats don't use the song, and haven't for years. My story for's Page 2:

49ers' new fullback likely ushering old fullback out the door

Daily 49ers blog for NBC Bay Area website:  Bruce Miller was a defensive end in college, so he had a steep learning curve after being drafted by the 49ers and being told he would be a fullback. After one season, however, Miller looks entrenched at the position, which means free-agent and former starter Moran Norris likely has played his last game for the team.