Monday, March 31, 2014

Five U.S. Olympians will be Athlete Role Models at this summer's Youth Olympic Games in China

Five American Olympians, including rower Erin Cafaro and fencer Miles Chamley-Watson, will be Athlete Role Models at the Youth Olympic Games in China this summer, able to mingle with young athletes from across the globe and answer questions and talk about their own experiences on the international stage. My story for

Despite physical impacts of brain tumor, Eric Galvez has become a warrior in the fight against cancer and tumors and continues to enjoy his very full life

Eric Galvez was a high school running back and standout wrestler, a leader in the physical therapy program at the University of Michigan and a budding surfer and triathlete in San Diego when he first started feeling the effects of a brain tumor. Though the tumor, now removed, has limited him physicially, it has done nothing to cast a shadow over his bright personality. As one friend says, Galvez is already for the next big thing in his life, every single day. My profile on him for U-T San Diego's series, "Courage Through Cancer."

Is Watkins within 49ers' reach. or is he too pricey?

Daily 49ers blog for NBC Bay Area website: If Sammy Watkins were to drop a few slots on draft day, some analysts project that the 49ers might be willing to move up to get him.

Raiders may be frontrunners for DeSean Jackson

Daily Raiders blog for NBC Bay Area website: Free-agent WR DeSean Jackson contacted the Raiders even before he was released by the Eagles, and Oakland may have equal interest in him.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Extra third-round pick for 49ers is golden ticket

Daily 49ers blog for NBC Bay Area website: The third-round compensation pick the 49ers received this week for this year's draft is no small matter. With six of the top 100 choices, San Francisco is in perfect position to capitalize.

Maurice Jones-Drew adds exciting element to Raiders

Daily Raiders blog for NBC Bay Area website: Running back Maurice Jones-Drew, if he's fit again, will add some excitement to Raiders offense in 2014.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Former Marine Steve Walker has lost his vision, but not his iron will to become an Ironman triathlete

Steve Walker always wanted to be a Marine. But after becoming one, he noticed his sight began to deteriorate, little by little. By the time he left the Corps he was legally blind. Now 31, Walker has just 5 percent of his sight left, and that could soon be lost. What hasn't been lost is his drive to feel alive and accomplish goals. This Saturday he'll do a half-Ironman triathlon in Oceanside, and in the fall he'll do a full Ironman in Cozumel, Mexico. Someday, he wants to do the granddaddy of them all in Kona, Hawaii. My story for's Endurance Sports section:

Niners may open up passing offense in 2014

Daily 49ers blog for NBC Bay Area website: The addition of a young, playmaking wide receiver will not only give the team more depth and options, but allow the 49ers offense to play with more three-receiver sets.

'Pryor Era' with Raiders will soon end

Daily Raiders blog for NBC Bay Area website: QB Terrelle Pryor will soon be released or traded, according to various reports, bringing to an end a brief up-and-down experiment.

Yes, it is possible for Harbaugh, Baalke to work together

Daily 49ers blog for NBC Bay Area website: Frictions exist, but Jim Harbaugh and Trent Baalke can make a terrific team, says 49ers CEO Jed York.

With Schaub trade, Raiders say future is now

Daily Raiders blog for NBC Bay Area website: The trade for QB Matt Schaub is a future-is-now move by GM Reggie McKenzie.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Keeping Osgood: Small cost, big payoff for 49ers

Daily 49ers blog for NBC Bay Area website: Special teams star Kassim Osgood will return to the 49ers for another year.

Raiders may get creative with offensive line

Daily Raiders blog for NBC Bay Area website: It appears the Raiders will move former Jets right tackle Austin Howard to guard to create a better running game, while also giving second-year player Menelik Watson to win the right-tackle job.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Raiders marching against history with Schaub signing

Daily Raiders blog for NBC Bay Area website:  Matt Schaub just seems like a desperate acquisition, along the lines of Carson Palmer, Matt Flynn, etc. Or will this work?

Saturday, March 22, 2014

John Feinstein's latest book, "Where Nobody Knows Your Name," is an enlightening tale of life, dreams and struggles in minor league baseball

Names appear in baseball's transactions list every day, but they are just that: names. In John Feinstein's latest book, "Where Nobody Knows Your Name," he brings those names to life, telling the stories of older former major leaguers and veteran minor leaguers as they struggle to get to "The Show." My review of his book for U-T San Diego:

Friday, March 21, 2014

Niners' interest in DeSean Jackson may not be serious

Daily 49ers blog for NBC Bay Area website: WR DeSean Jackson is an electric talent, but the Eagles standout may be too expensive for 49ers' salary cap situation.

So the Raiders answer at QB is ... Matt Schaub?

Daily Raiders blog for NBC Bay Area website: Raiders GM Reggie McKenzie whiffed on a trade for Matt Flynn last season. Now his trade for Matt Schaub has the same feel.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Gold medal-winning freeskier David Wise has mingled with stars, appeared on 'Ellen,' been given the 'ski to the city' in Reno and basked in warm wishes since return from Sochi

Freeskier David Wise doesn't like the party life or to be the focus of attention. He'd rather spend time with his wife and daughter. But after winning a gold medal in the half pipe in Sochi, he's been amazed by all the things he's been able to see and do. My story on Wise for, the Olympic website:

Raiders spending, but being frugal with long-term money

Daily Raiders blog for NBC Bay Area website: The Raiders have brought in eight veteran free agents so far, and will bring in more. But they are being cautious with the contracts they've given so they won't be tied up in expensive, long-term deals.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

U.S. speedskater Brian Hansen regains momentum on World Cup circuit after disappointment at Sochi Olympics

Brian Hansen had waited a long time for his first World Cup victory in the 1,500 meters, so it was something for him to savor after beating all three Olympic medalists from Sochi in the event at the World Cup event in Germany following the Winter Games. My story about Hansen and his strong World Cup season for

Dove has an "Easy Decision" campaign featuring NBA, college head coaches, but there's nothing easy about picking an accurate NCAA Tournament outcome

The NCAA Basketball Tournament is an amazing event for a number of reasons -- the most amazing being that it gets the nation focused on college basketball for a little while, even though most Americans don't care that much about college hoops. Exactly 3 percent of U.S. fans say college basketball is their favorite sport, which puts it behind the NFL (35 percent), MLB (14), college football (11), auto racing (7), the NBA (6) and NHL (5), according to a Harris poll in 2014.

But, because of Internet brackets (and office pools), people who wouldn't walk across the street to watch Stephen F. Austin play hoops -- or be able to name the coach or a single player, much less tell you where the school is -- suddenly care if the Lumberjacks (yeah, that's their name) beat Virginia Commonwealth in their matchup Friday. As long as their team or their bracket remains alive, they'll care; once they're out, those fans don't care a lick. At least that's my opinion. I'm not saying the NCAA Tournament isn't a great event, because it is. But the whole "March Madness" thing makes you believe college hoops is the most popular event on the planet, and that's just not the case.

However, there are very cool things about the tournament every year: great matchups, drama, upsets, commercials, new interactive brackets on various websites that weren't available even five years ago, the technology that allows you to watch or follow games on your phone all day, etc.

I came across one such thing this week on the Bleacher Report site about National Bracket Day (Monday), when fans get serious about filling out their picks for the 68-team tourney. The site, partnering with a new "Easy Decision" campaign by Dove, carries the headline: "Choosing Dove Men+Care is an easy decision. Now your bracket decisions can be that easy, too."On the page, you can pick from a) making your own picks in a Bracket Challenge; b) having the computer select the whole bracket for you; or c) making your picks with the help of experts. I chose "b" and got a kick out of the random choices made for me. On the first try, Wofford was national champ. On my second, it was BYU. Those seem wacky, but they're probably as accurate as any picks I've ever made (I stopped filling out brackets years ago, they were so bad).

That Dove campaign also includes NBA Indiana Pacers coach Frank Vogel and Villanova head coach Jay Wright talking about how they have to make tough decisions all day, every day, but the one decision that's easy is picking Dove Men+Care. Here's a link to their commercials. 

So who's going to win this year's tournament? That is one thing that's NOT an easy decision. But after studying the bracket for hours and hours (not), my Final Four picks are: Kentucky, Iowa State, Arizona and Louisville, with Louisville beating Kentucky for the whole tamale.

Or, maybe it will be Wofford.

49ers extend Fangio, ensuring amazing staff continuity

Daily 49ers blog for NBC Bay Area website: Defensive coordinator Vic Fangio's deal has been extended through 2015.

Raiders are beefing up offensive line for 2014

Daily Raiders blog for NBC Bay Area website: The addition of left tackle Donald Penn is the latest move by GM Reggie McKenzie to strengthen the Raiders' offensive line.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Though she's living with a brain tumor, Monika Allen is still running marathons, still planning, still living and still focused on experiencing life at its fullest

The pingpong-sized tumor in Monika Allen's brain is inoperable, yet she's hopeful doctors can keep it from growing -- or perhaps shrink it. Meanwhile, she continues to work, travel, run marathons and live the life she wants. My story on Allen for U-T San Diego's series called "Courage Through Cancer."

49ers' Bethea will be a much different safety than Whitner

Daily 49ers blog for NBC Bay Area website: How good is Antoine Bethea, the replacement for former 49ers safety Donte Whitner?

Raiders' D getting a whole new look

Daily Raiders blog for NBC Bay Area website: GM Reggie McKenzie took heat for his initial moves in free agency, but now he seems to be building some positive momentum with signings on defense and the offensive line.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Steve Smith to 49ers? It's a fantasy scenario

Daily 49ers blog for NBC Bay Area website: Now that the Panthers have released receiver Steve Smith, might he be destined for the 49ers? Probably not, but it certainly would make an impact.

McFadden returned to Raiders to prove himself

Daily Raiders blog for NBC Bay Area website: Running back Darren McFadden re-signed with the Raiders, says his agent, because he has much to prove.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Niners give Gabbert, Martin second life in NFL

Daily 49ers blog for NBC Bay Area website: The trades for Blaine Gabbert and Jonathan Martin are low-cost, low-risk moves that could pay dividends for the 49ers in the future. But if they fail, they won't be costly.

So, what is Raiders' McKenzie doing?

Daily Raiders blog for NBC Bay Area website: Day 1 free agency moves of Raiders GM Reggie McKenzie leave observers scratching their heads.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Would 49ers sign Michael Vick to be No. 2 quarterback?

Daily 49ers blog for NBC Bay Area website: One national writer suggests the 49ers might be a good landing spot for Michael Vick if he can't find a team that will give him a No. 1 job.

Raiders eyeing backup plan at left tackle

Daily Raiders blog for NBC Bay Area website: If Jared Veldheer signs in free agency, what will Raiders do? GM Reggie McKenzie is doing his homework.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Bobsledder Elana Meyers still on a fast, wild ride after coming home from Sochi with a silver medal

As a bobsledder, Elana Meyers doesn't often get attention, but since winning a silver medal in Sochi, the two-time Olympian has been recognized in public, praised by Georgia politicians and signed thousands of autographs -- and she's loving every second of it. My story on her for

Re-signing Boldin works on many levels for 49ers

Daily 49ers blog for NBC Bay Area website: Anquan Boldin, back with the 49ers for two more years, is as strong a leader as he is a pass catcher.

On new path, Raiders need old Woodson

Daily Raiders blog for NBC Bay Area website: Charles Woodson is 37, but he showed Raiders last season that he's still a playmaker ... and that he'd be a smart re-signing for 2014.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Despite a long battle with cancer, Dr. Moses Christian kept up a remarkable streak of marathons; now, however, it appears Sunday's L.A. Marathon could perhaps be his last

In 1993, Dr. Moses Christian took up running. The next year, he did his first marathon -- and also learned he had prostate cancer. Over two decades, he's continued to run while treating his cancer in a holistic manner. Recently, however, the cancer has spread. But Christian is determined to do Sunday's Los Angeles Marathon. My story for

Niners now doing one-on-ones with top prospects

Daily 49ers blog for NBC Bay Area website: The latest athlete under the 49ers' microscope is Texas A&M wide receiver Mike Evans.

Raiders seem to be gambling with Jared Veldheer

Daily Raiders blog for NBC Bay Area webiste: Why the delay in Raiders' negotiations with tackle Jared Veldheer, who could sign with another team next week?

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Sochi-bound Paralympian Alana Nichols is working hard to create paths for future Paralympians

Alana Nichols, the first woman to win Paralympic medals in both summer and winter Games, is on her way to Sochi as a skier. But Nichols, who also has won medals in wheelchair basketball, is also working hard to help young athletes with disabilities follow in her path. My story for, the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic website.

Former San Diego State standout Joe Corona hoping for a chance to be part of U.S. World Cup team in Brazil this summer

Joe Corona played just one season at San Diego State before going on to play professionally in Mexico. But the former high school star in the San Diego area showed coach Lev Kirshner in his brief time with the Aztecs that he has big-time playmaking skills -- which he's demonstrated in recent stints with the U.S. national team. Now Corona, a star with Tijuana's Xolos of the first division, is hoping he gets the chance to play for the U.S. in the World Cup in Brazil this summer. My story for San Diego State's 360 Magazine:

Harbaugh's on the scouting trail for quarterbacks

Daily 49ers blog for NBC Bay Area website: Reports that Jim Harbaugh was at a private workout for Eastern Illinois quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo indicate that the 49ers head coach is taking a personal interest in finding a young, No.2 QB.

Abbey D'Agostino blossomed from 'dime a dozen' high school runner to dominant star at Dartmouth, where she's won five NCAA championships, with more to come

In high school, Abbey D'Agostino had some good races, but wasn't consistent. But once she got to Dartmouth, she discovered a passion for running she'd never had before. Now she's become one of the most dominant distance runners in the nation, having won five NCAA titles in cross country and indoor and outdoor track. My story for's Endurance Sports section:

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Taylor Chace excited to help U.S. quest to defend sled hockey gold medal from 2010 Vancouver Paralympics

This will be the third Paralympics for U.S. sled hockey standout Taylor Chace, who now is working to help the Americans become the first nation to win consecutive gold medals in the sport. My story for

Rachael Bona has stepped up her game to help No. 1 Minnesota in its quest for three straight NCAA hockey championships

Junior forward Rachael Bona is the No. 3 scorer in the nation, and playing well all over the ice, for top-ranked and defending-champion Gophers. My story for USA Hockey:

Boldin re-signing helps 49ers, Kaepernick

Daily 49ers blog for NBC Bay Area website: One of the happiest 49ers Monday was quarterback Colin Kaepernick, overjoyed at getting the chance to play with Anquan Boldin in 2014 and 2015.