Howdy, my name is Houston Mitchell and let’s get right to the news.
Rams rookie safety Taylor Rapp is raising some eyebrows in camp so far. Let’s let Gary Klein explain.
“Rapp continued to gain confidence during the first week of training camp, which included two practices with the Chargers.
“This week, the Rams will practice twice with the Oakland Raiders in Napa.
“On Sunday, Rapp said lessons learned against the Chargers would enable him to grow against the Raiders.
“It was kind of eye-opening, getting me ready for the tempo and stuff like that,” Rapp said. “It’s definitely going to help out a lot heading into these next two practices with the Raiders.”
“The 6-foot, 208-pound Rapp was selected in the second round of the draft after an outstanding career at the University of Washington.
“He is part of a Rams safety corps that includes 12-year veteran Eric Weddle, ascending third-year pro John Johnson and versatile Marqui Christian.
Rapp also is versatile, coach Sean McVay said.
“He took some steps in the right direction,” against the Chargers, McVay said. “He showed up on the field.
“He’s so conscientious -- he’s going to keep getting better every day.”
“Rapp, 21, acknowledged that he has dealt with NFL “learning curves and growing pains and stuff like that.” But he said he was becoming more and more comfortable in defensive coordinator Wade Phillips’ system.
“Now, it’s all about going out there and letting it loose and trying to make plays,” he said.
Rapp already has demonstrated his maturity, Johnson said. With his play, he also has answered questions about his speed.
“He’s going to be a real good player for a long time,” Johnson said. “He can move, he can run.
“He’s a flat-out baller.”
The Pro Football Hall of Fame induction ceremony was held over the weekend, with Champ Bailey, Pat Bowlen, Gil Brandt, Tony Gonzalez, Ty Law, Kevin Mawae, Ed Reed and Johnny Robinson all being inducted. Last year, Terrell Owens was inducted, but he didn’t show up. Has he changed his mind one year later? Not really. He sat down with our Arash Markazi the night before the ceremony to talk about it.
“I’m not going there and I won’t be watching on TV. I didn’t even watch last year when I was inducted. I was in my hotel in Chattanooga before I went to the arena to give my speech.”
“Owens, who retired from the NFL second to only Jerry Rice in receiving yards and touchdown receptions, was not voted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in his first two years of eligibility despite a resume second only to Rice, the greatest wide receiver in league history. He finally received the necessary votes last year but declined to go to the ceremony in Canton and became the first inductee to skip his official induction. Owens instead held his own event at the McKenzie Arena on the campus of University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, his alma mater.
“The first year comes and goes and I tried not to take it personally,” Owens said. “My stats were what they were and weren’t going to change. The second year comes up and Marvin Harrison gets in and I don’t when my statistics are better than his. Now it’s a slap in the face. You’re now denying me what I’ve rightfully earned. You’re disrespecting me and everything I’ve done in my career. You’re denying me something I deserve for your personal opinion and that’s what went into doing my own thing. You’re not going to tell me twice I’m not worthy of what I was worthy of from the start and tell me what to do.
“Just because you want to let me in when it feels right to you isn’t an olive branch to me. You disrespected me and spit on me for two years. I’m not doing what you tell me to do. You’re not going to ... on me and think I’m going to do a song and dance for you when you want me to. It doesn’t work that way with me.”
“I was raised by my grandmother and she let me know how ... the world is and how ... people are and I took that to heart. I didn’t trust a lot of people. You’re a product of your environment and that hurt me in my professional and personal life.”
“When I was nominated that first year, I was sitting in my condo on Coldwater Canyon, just wondering how I was even able to get to this point. I came from a small town and went to a small school that only recruited me because they were recruiting another receiver at our high school so they made an offer to us as a package deal. I played four years and played basketball too because I never thought I would get drafted. I never had aspirations to play pro football. I only went there because they offered me a scholarship and my grandma couldn’t afford to send me to school.”
“The game is so political. It’s so clear that the owners feel like they own the players and they’ll never give them what they deserve. They have these players thinking they need the owners to survive when it’s the other way around. The NFL wouldn’t be the NFL without the players. Once the players figure that out and stick together, the owners are going to be up [a] creek without a paddle. Look at the NBA, MLB and NHL with their guaranteed contracts, but these players have to sacrifice and be willing to stand their ground to get what they deserve and they haven’t done that yet.”
Will he ever go to the Hall of Fame?
“I will go at some point with my kids and family,” Owens said. “I don’t know when. I’m not ready yet. There’s nothing they can do. The damage has been done. They can apologize, but that’s not going to change anything. Everyone knows I should have been in on the first ballot. They disrespected me, my family and my kids. I’ll go one day, but I’ll go when I’m ready.”
Curtis Zupke on the U.S. Open of Surfing:
“The first encounter that Courtney Conlogue had with Sage Erickson was memorable, and not in a friendly way.
“They are only two years apart in age and have a long history in junior surf competitions. Conlogue was the younger one from Santa Ana and Erickson the northerner from Ojai, which didn’t sit well with Conlogue.
“I first met her when I was like 12 or 13 and I gave her a good glare,” Conlogue said.
“Said Erickson, “We’d be in our wetsuits all day, pretty much staring at each other and avoiding each other at all costs. I definitely remember the smirks and the tension.”
“The evolution of their rivalry unfolded Sunday when they were pitted against each other in the women’s final of the Vans U.S. Open of Surfing. Moments after Erickson captured her second Open title in three years, over the defending champion Conlogue, she paddled over to hug her former nemesis.
“It was more than a cordial gesture.
“I wouldn’t be the surfer today if it wasn’t for Courtney,” Erickson said. “I had a really good childhood rivalry with her. She’s ferocious and aggressive out in the water, but on land, Courtney is one of the sweetest, most genuine people there is. I always surf my best when I’m with her because I know I have to show up and perform.
“To share an all-California final here at Huntington [Beach], Surf City, it just felt really surreal, and I’m really excited about how that result came, because beating Courtney always is a bonus.”
“It was an especially emotional week for the 28-year-old Erickson, who dedicated the win to her late grandmother. She took home the $30,000 prize and the 10,000 points she needs to get back on the world tour. Men’s winner Yago Dora of Brazil also clinched the $30,000 payday and points to close the nine-day event at Huntington Beach Pier.
“Erickson said the equal prize money was important because “it represents women and change in equality.” And it was a feather in her cap that it came against Conlogue following six losses to her in head-to-head matchups on the Championship Tour.
“Erickson was aggressive early in the final with scores of 7.23 and 8.17. Conlogue’s best was 6.50 and 6.43. She needed an 8.9 late and couldn’t land two big-air attempts. Conlogue was bummed at the result but happy for her friend.
“I love surfing against Sage,” she said. “I have her number so she got me on this day. I’m sure we’ll have a lot more heats in the future. I’m just really happy for her. She’s had a lot going on and this result would mean a lot.”
Odds and ends
Max Muncy’s walk-off double lifts Dodgers over Padres in slugfest…. Dodgers rookie Tony Gonsolin views start against Cardinals as an audition…. Doc Rivers’ Magic lessons taught him how to deal with superstar players…. UCLA quarterback competition has a presumed favorite, but no runaway standout…. Angels lose three players to injury, three games to Indians in sweep…. Candace Parker’s season high helps Sparks beat Storm…. Michael Davis hopes to say ‘hola’ to starting cornerback role…. College football 2019: Can Kevin Sumlin revive Khalil Tate at Arizona?…. Golf roundup: Hinako Shibuno wins Women’s British Open…. Chase Elliott wins NASCAR Cup race at Watkins Glen…. Dan Fouts mourns the death of his dad, Bob, a renowned broadcaster in his own right…. Narbonne starts out No. 1 football team in City Section
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Today’s local major sports schedule
St. Louis at Dodgers, 7 p.m., SportsNet LA, AM 570
Angels at Cincinnati, 4 p.m., FSW, AM 830
Born on this date
1937: Hockey coach Herb Brooks
1947: Baseball player Bernie Carbo
1948: Soccer coach Tony DiCicco
1950: Skier Rosi Mittermaier
1952: NBA player Patrick Ewing
1968: Baseball player John Olerud
1974: Soccer player Frankie Hejduk
1981: Former Dodger Carl Crawford
1982: Runner LoLo Jones
1986: Golfer Paula Creamer
1990: Golfer Patrick Reed
Died on this date
1991: NFL coach Paul Brown, 82
2002: Lakers announcer Chick Hearn, 85
The best of Chick Hearn. Listen to it here.