At this time last year, Boston College linebacker Mark Herzlich was busy putting together his NFL resume as the ACC Defensive Player of the Year. Today, he is fighting Ewing’s sarcoma, a rare form of cancer that has threatened Herzlich’s career and life. Tom Rinaldi chronicles Herzlich’s determined battle against cancer.
“I would just keep going and fighting regardless of what happened. If that cancer had spread to my lungs, then guess what, I’d fight it and get it out of there. If I needed to get my leg amputated, then I’d get that to happen and get a prosthetic and do something else.” — Mark Herzlich
Steelers 2004 first-round draft pick Ben Roethlisberger has made headlines in leading Pittsburgh to two Super Bowl championships and appearing in a Pro Bowl. This summer, however, he made news for a far different reason: 31-year-old Harrah’s Casino employee Andrea McNulty accused him in civil court of sexual assault, an encounter she alleges took place last year during a celebrity golf tournament. Roethlisberger has vehemently denied the accusations while McNulty says as a result of the alleged assault she spent time in and out of hospitals battling depression and post-traumatic stress disorder. Outside the Lines’ Shelley Smith examines the conflicting reports of Roethlisberger and his accuser, and how both of their lives have since been altered.
Outside the Lines (Sunday, 9 a.m., ESPN; noon, ESPNEWS) ESPN.com (accompanying video) ESPN Radio (The Sporting Life with Jeremy Schaap, Friday 10 p.m.)
When Turner Gill became University of Buffalo head coach in 2005, it had the worst winning percentage of any Division 1A team (10-69 through the previous seven years). But Gill, the first black starting quarterback at Nebraska (28-2 in three years as a starter) and later an assistant coach there, turned the Buffalo program around, leading the Buffalos to the MAC Championship last season. Less than a week later, Gill interviewed for the head coaching job at Auburn, but the university eventually hired Iowa State head coach Gene Chizik. That caused some, including Charles Barkley, to accuse his former school of choosing Chizik over Gill because of race, citing Chizik’s 5-19 record through two-seasons at Iowa State.
“It hurt me. It hurt me because I feel it was an opportunity that he deserved, that he had earned. And he didn’t get it… I think it played into it, yeah.” — Warde Manuel, Buffalo AD, on whether race was a factor in Gill not getting the Auburn job
“You’ve got to always prove to people that you’re better than what they think you are. It doesn’t mean I’m always going to be successful, but I just want an opportunity to show you that I’m better than what you think I am.” — Turner Gill
Brett Favre will play against his old team, and will wear the purple jersey of the rival Vikings. What emotions come up when you’re playing against your former team – a team on which you might want to exact some revenge? Marcus Allen, Jon Gruden, Curtis Martin and others discuss what they went through when facing their former team for the first time.
“There was a part of me that wanted to show New England how much of a mistake they made. There was a part of me that wanted to say to them, ‘You should have kept me here. I deserved to be here and your loss.'” — Curtis Martin
“It just made it more interesting because I was always compelled to, wanted to, desired to, win any way. What made it very difficult was it was almost like playing against my brother – I wanted to beat my brother but I never really wanted to beat him, never wanted to embarrass him.” — Marcus Allen
Earlier this year, when the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim lost the bidding war for free agent Mark Teixeira, they were left looking for alternatives. In comes Kendry Morales, a Cuban first baseman who signed with the Angels after defecting in 2004. As the regular season ends, the Angels celebrate their division championship, won with the help of Morales, now an MVP candidate. ESPNDeportes.com’s Enrique Rojas reports after enjoying access to Morales’ every-day routine.
While Michigan has climbed back into the Top 25 this year, offensive lineman Elliott Mealer has had the biggest comeback of the 2009 season. Mealer lost his girlfriend and father in a Christmas Eve car accident in 2007 that also left him with a torn rotator cuff and his brother paralyzed. Needing to heal physically and emotionally, Mealer found comfort at the home of his girlfriend’s family, and inspiration from his brother, who was fighting to walk again. Debuting at this year’s Michigan home opener, Elliott ran onto the field honoring his father and girlfriend. Lisa Salters reports.
E:60 (Tuesday, 7 p.m., ESPN)
Members of Adrian Peterson’s family describe the adversity the Minnesota Vikings’ Pro Bowl running back has faced, including watching as his younger brother was struck and killed by a drunk driver, enduring the imprisonment of his father, and learning of his stepbrother’s murder only hours before the NFL Combine. NFL legend Jim Brown, new teammate Brett Favre and Vikings’ coach Brad Childress also discuss Peterson, who holds the NFL’s single-game rushing record, and who allows reporter Rachel Nichols an all-access look at his life off the field, including his beloved $200,000 shoe collection.