The Philadelphia Eagles have released veteran defensive tackles Cullen Jenkins and Mike Patterson.
Jenkins signed a five-year, $30 million contract with the Eagles in 2011 and started every game the last two seasons. He was due to make $5.5 million this season, but rebuilding Philadelphia cut the 32-year-old Jenkins on Monday.
After spending the first seven seasons of his NFL career with Green Bay, Jenkins left for Philadelphia. He had 5 1-2 sacks in 2011 and four in 2012.
"It's one of the most difficult parts of the job. He has been a very productive player in this league for a long time," Roseman said of Jenkins. "By releasing him at this point, it gives he and his agent more time to sign on with another team."
Patterson, the team's longest-tenured player, spent eight seasons with the Eagles. A first-round draft pick in 2005 out of Southern California, the 29-year-old Patterson played in 115 games with 99 starts. He made 551 tackles, 16 1-2 sacks, had four forced fumbles and seven fumble recoveries.
Most memorable was the Eagles' longest fumble return for a touchdown, a 98-yarder at San Francisco in 2006.
Patterson underwent brain surgery in January 2012, but returned to the Eagles for five games last season. He was diagnosed with a brain malformation in August 2012 after suffering a seizure during a training camp practice.
"Mike Patterson is one of the toughest players I have ever been around in the National Football League," said Roseman. "He has overcome many obstacles throughout his career and I have the upmost respect for him because of it." -- (AP)
CLEARWATER, Fla. — An older, wiser Jimmy Rollins has ditched his annual rite of spring: Trading trash talk with National League East counterparts.
But as the new-look Philadelphia Phillies prepare for the season after seeing their five-year reign atop the division end in 2012, Rollins isn't conceding anything either. The longtime shortstop remains confident in the talented nucleus assembled here.
"Everybody is in the right mind frame," Rollins said. "We're a complete team. We're not going out there with role players. We're going out there with everyday players, every game."
Rollins, 34, was drafted by the Phillies out of high school in 1996 in the midst of the organization's 13-year playoff drought. But prior to the 2007 season, Rollins famously declared a young-and-upcoming Phillies squad "the team to beat."
The Phillies made good on Rollins words. They chased down the New York Mets in September and won the division on the final day of the regular season. They then went on a tear that resulted in two World Series appearances, and one title.
Rollins, in 2007, won National League MVP, but that was six years ago. Many of the names in the clubhouse have changed since then. And those that remain — Rollins, Chase Utley, Ryan Howard, Carlos Ruiz and Cole Hamels — are not in the same point in their careers.
Last season offered proof. The Phillies finished 81-81, to post their first non-winning season in 10 years. But they also didn't play a single game in the first half with Howard, Utley and Roy Halladay healthy at the same time. All three missed large chunks of the season with injuries.
With all three healthy this year — and the additions the Phillies made this winter, too — Rollins thinks the team can once again be a contender.
"We did what we needed to do (in the offseason)," Rollins said. "We just needed to fill a couple of holes and get the other guys back healthy, and we've done that. (Relief pitcher Mike) Adams is going to be huge from what he's done, and being able to continue that, it's going to be great. Mikey Young, he's just a professional hitter. The little man out in center field, Tootsie Pop, Ben Revere, he's going to bring that energy. Shane (Victorino) left, and we've got a guy who can come in and steal bags, so we don't miss a beat there.
"It's different, but it's a great dynamic what we have now. It's a good feeling. As you can see, it's nice and calm. Last year, everybody was uncertain. There's a lot more certainty around here."
Rollins may have retired his panache for making bold statements. But it wasn't all that long ago that he made one worth remembering.
After the Phillies finished the 2012 season in Washington, Rollins said the Nationals, who won the division, would have been a second-place team if the Phillies were healthy. Rollins isn't reliving the past, but he's also hasn't lost faith in his team's ability to return to the top of the division.
"That was last year," Rollins said. "And this year is different. Nothing has changed in our mentality or my mentality about how I feel about where this team should be or will be. The players we have, I like it. I was talking to (manager) Charlie (Manuel), the bullpen is good. The lineup has an opportunity to be real deep.
"Play some good quality baseball on both sides, the mental side of the game, it's going to be a fun team."
NOTES: Utley, a second baseman, will play in Friday's intrasquad game and will also likely start in the Phillies' first Grapefruit League game Saturday, according to Manuel. Utley hasn't played in a spring exhibition game in each of the last two years while battling chronic knee pain. Hamels will start in the opener Saturday against the Houston Astros, with Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, Kyle Kendrick and John Lannan scheduled to follow in the next week. Halladay will pitch opposite Justin Verlander in Sunday's game against the Detroit Tigers in Lakeland, Fla. If that rotational order holds up through the spring, Hamels could get the start on the regular season's opening day. ... Hall of Fame 3B Mike Schmidt arrived in Phillies camp on Wednesday for his annual work as a hitting instructor. . The Phillies' intrasquad game on Friday will begin at noon at Bright House Field and admission is free to the public. -- (AP)
CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Actor Lou Myers, best known for his role as ornery restaurant owner Mr. Gaines on the television series "A Different World," has died.
Tonia McDonald of Myers' nonprofit, Global Business Incubation Inc., said Myers died Tuesday night at Charleston Area Medical Center in West Virginia. She said he was 76. McDonald said Wednesday that Myers had been in and out of the hospital since before Christmas and collapsed recently. An autopsy was planned.
A native of Chesapeake, W.Va., Myers had returned to the state and lived in the Charleston area.
His TV credits included "NYPD Blue," ''E.R.," ''The Cosby Show," ''Touched by an Angel," and more. He also appeared in a number of films, including "Tin Cup," ''How Stella Got Her Groove Back," ''Wedding Planner" and more.
"A Different World" ran from 1987-93 and originally starred Lisa Bonet from "Cosby" fame. Myers said he owed his introduction to Hollywood to Bill Cosby.
Myers also appeared on Broadway including "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof" African American Style and "Oprah Winfrey's The Color Purple."
In 2005, the Appalachian Education Initiative listed Myers as one of 50 "Outstanding Creative Artists" from the state of West Virginia and featured him in their coffee table book Art & Soul.
He began singing jazz and blues with the touring company of "Negro Music in Vogue," according to a biography provided by McDonald.
His Cabaret show has been acclaimed in Berlin, Paris, Hong Kong, Tokyo, and New York, as well as Los Angeles at the Roosevelt Hotel.
Myers was chairman of Global Business Incubation that helps urban small businesses and chairman of the Lou Myers Scenario Motion Picture Institute/Theatre.
He won a NAACP "Best Actor" award for playing the Stool Pigeon in "King Hedley II," a play by August Wilson. -- (AP)
Outside of Joe Frazier’s Gym in North Philadelphia, the sidewalk is littered with an empty handle of Gordon’s gin, a yellow flash of caution tape and scattered pebbles of broken glass.
Inside the gym, which isn’t a gym anymore, there are couches and mattresses for sale.
More than a year after Frazier’s 2011 death, preservation advocates are seeking protective designations for the building in a campaign that is a sign of a larger cultural shift in the historic preservation community. At the movement’s heart is a push for inclusiveness in a field that has long privileged the stories and accomplishments of influential white men and paid little if any attention to anyone else.
“We’ve done an analysis over the past year,” said Stephanie Toothman, the National Park Service’s associate director for cultural resources. “The percentage of sites that specifically represent women and groups such as African Americans, Native Americans and Asian Pacific Americans ranges from 3 to 8 percent.”
Compared with the makeup of the U.S. population, that percentage is minuscule. Women make up slightly more than 50 percent of the population in the United States and white men account for about 36 percent of the overall population, according the latest figures from the U.S. Census Bureau.
“They often say that history is written by the winners, but it’s also narrated by the people who have the podium,” said Page Harrington, executive director of Sewall-Belmont House and Museum, the Washington, D.C., headquarters for the National Woman’s Party throughout much of the 20th century. “So if you have fewer women in leadership positions — in universities, or writing textbooks, or in Congress — you have fewer of those stories that are necessarily making their way into the public spectrum that the next generation of scholars looks at, and so on, and so on.”
The fight to save Frazier’s gym seems appropriately symbolic for a man who fought his way to the top. Frazier was an underdog before he became a champ. He worked in a Philadelphia slaughterhouse, where he practiced throwing punches on slabs of beef hanging in a freezing meat locker. Sylvester Stallone borrowed that training habit for a montage in the boxing film “Rocky.” And while Philadelphia erected a statue of Stallone’s fictional boxer, the fate of Frazier’s gym is uncertain.
“Philadelphia is the capital of boxing and I believe Joe Frazier’s gym is the White House,” said Frazier’s son, Marvis Frazier, in a 2011 documentary. Frazier began working out there in 1968. It’s where he trained for the “Fight of the Century” in 1971, when he beat Muhammad Ali to defend his title as undisputed world heavyweight champion.
“JOE FRAZIER’S GYM” is still etched into the face of the building at 2917 N. Broad St. Little pairs of boxing gloves are stenciled on either side. In big red letters underneath: Home Gallery Furniture & Bedding. A sticker on the window advertises “knockout prices.”
Today, there are chocolate-colored sofas where the boxing ring and punching bag used to be, and headboards in what was once Frazier’s locker room. The brick walls have been painted a docile yellow. Mylar balloons shaped like stars bob from strings tied to sofas and bed frames. The furniture store owner didn’t respond to interview requests but locals are encouraged by the idea that the building, which is for sale, might be recognized officially and protected as historic.
“Hopefully in a few years, it will go back to what it used to be,” said an employee who didn’t want his name published.
Outside, a broad-shouldered security guard stood watch. “It’s the neighborhood,” he explained with a shrug.
He didn’t have to say more than that: Joe Frazier’s gym is in a part of Philadelphia where barbed wire sprouts from fence tops, storefronts warn people wearing hoodies to keep out, and the homicide rate is nearly three times higher than it is in the rest of the city.
“This is a place that is a more humble architectural resource,” said Stephanie Meeks, who runs the National Trust for Historic Preservation, a privately funded preservation advocacy group. “But it’s really important from the standpoint of an iconic American sports figure and the significance that he had.”
What’s worth saving?
As preservationists look to be more inclusive, they’re also reassessing long-held notions about what ought to be preserved. The passage of time inevitably prompts re-evaluation of what is historically significant; usually about 50 years pass before something is in the running for historic protection. Paul Lusignan, whose job is to review applications for National Register of Historic Places designation, remembers when the skyscrapers of the 1950s and 1960s were considered “the enemy” to preservationists. To scholars in the 1980s, the post-World War II era ushered in a spate of “cold, unfeeling” architecture, he said.
“Modern buildings were coming in and destroying Victorian architecture, so we were trying to protect Victorian architecture,” said Lusignan, 54. “Now we’re looking and saying, ‘No, some of these modernist buildings, though they may have demolished something else nice, are significant in and of themselves.’ That’s always been changing. As time has moved on, people have looked at different things.”
More recently, preservationists have expanded parameters to include historic designations for modest bungalows, airplanes, water towers, even gas stations. The National Park Service has thus far “drawn the line at cars,” archivist Jeff Joeckel says.
The idea that an unassuming brick building where a young boxer turned into a champion — miles away from Independence Hall or the street where Benjamin Franklin lived — might join Philadelphia’s ranks of historic treasures is one that wouldn’t have gained much traction in the past.
At the same time, preservationists are looking beyond the built world altogether, which requires disassociating ideas about historic significance from Western values.
“In most native communities, the spiritual aspects of life and their worldview are not separated from everything else,” said Valerie Hauser, director of the Office of Native American Affairs at the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation. “So that’s a basic disconnect. We often — on the federal side, or the nonnative side — are challenged to understand the significance to a tribe, say, or a Native Hawaiian organization, that maintaining the view shed of the mountain could be important.”
In Hawaiian culture, slices of land traditionally were divvied up into ahupuaa: Long uninterrupted strips that extended from the mountains down to the shore. Development over the years — particularly on the island of Oahu, which includes Honolulu — has broken many of those sacred mountain-to-ocean links.
“There’s still an inherent tension between the nonnative side of preservation and the native side of preservation,” Hauser said. “We’re still trying to fit a square peg into a round hole. We’re still going through growing pains, but we have at least gotten to the point where we sit and argue and recognize that they have a place at the table. Philosophically, it’s recognized. Policy-wise, it’s recognized. Legally, it’s recognized. But operationally, it’s more challenging.”
The way forward
The Obama administration has listed inclusiveness among its priorities for historic preservation efforts going forward. Outgoing Interior Secretary Ken Salazar made it clear in a recent statement that “we need to change” the low level of representation of women, specifically among National Park System sites.
One of the steps his department took late last year was to officially affiliate the Sewall-Belmont House with the National Mall. That administrative restructuring means that when people research sites to visit, Sewall-Belmont will be listed among better-known Washington landmarks like the Lincoln Memorial and the Washington Monument.
“Secretary Salazar wants the history of minorities more accurately represented but also more equally represented, and that’s been something that he’s been focused on,” said Sewall-Belmont’s Harrington. “But if there is no actual funding for it, it’s going to limit what we can do. You have to ask yourself: What is the dollar amount it would take to get where we need to be? And it’s astronomical.”
Federal advocates also are working to find ways to engage people on the local level, since national historic designations must begin with state nominations. That means finding ways to connect with individuals and groups that often aren’t accustomed to considering their own stories and histories as eligible for broader recognition.
Back in North Philly, preservationists are cautiously optimistic about the campaign for Frazier’s gym. They plan to complete a study on whether it’s possible to turn it back into a gym or some kind of community center, “the type that Joe Frazier had in mind for the building,” said John Gallery, former executive director of the Philadelphia Preservation Alliance.
A 1974 New York Times article described the gym as it was in those days: Huge boxing photos and an oil painting of Frazier hanging on the original red brick walls, with bright blue carpeting with dark wood paneling. It was a gym “of relative splendor,” and seemed especially lavish in the shadow of “the grimy North Philadelphia railroad station.”
In Frazier’s fighting days, he had a reputation for taking punches — smirking and chuckling at the ones that hurt the most — and biding his time before striking down his opponent.
Frazier’s legacy on North Broad Street seems distant now. It’s been 42 years since the Fight of the Century, which pitted a heavyweight so nimble he could “float like a butterfly” against Frazier’s dogged and sometimes-clunky style. Ali, who was 5 inches taller than Frazier, was favored by many to win that night. In an article published the day of the fight, a New York Times reporter described what it would look like when Frazier inevitably lost: His chortling giving way to dizziness and the loss of spatial relationships, the eventual relief of going down.
But that isn’t what happened. Joe Frazier won.
And on the wall of his gym, which is now a discount furniture store, he put up an enormous photo — 8 feet wide and 6 feet tall — from that night. The photographer had captured the moment just before Ali dropped from Frazier’s spectacular left hook. Ali’s face was caught in an expression of dull surprise, like he couldn’t believe he was about to fall, or that the fight would actually end the way it did. –(AP)
PROVIDENCE, Rhode Island — Singer, actor and civil rights activist Harry Belafonte on Tuesday urged leaders in the Black community to get more involved in the national debate on guns.
Belafonte said that the current discussion arising out of the Connecticut school massacre in December often ignores decades of urban gun violence. He said it's important that African-American leaders participate in the debate over gun control.
"What really concerns me is the ingredients of the discourse," he said. "The African-American community ... where is that community? Where is that voice? I think the Black community, the Black leadership need to stir it up."
The 85-year-old Belafonte made his comments during a visit to the Rhode Island School of Design, where he delivered an address on his life as an artist and activist. He urged the 550 people in attendance to embrace "radical thoughts" for solving poverty, inequality, violence and greed.
"What I find missing mostly in the American discourse is the rejection of radical thought," he said. "They (national leaders) speak within the same dull space they inherited from past oppressors."
Belafonte was called "The King of Calypso" for bringing Caribbean music to a global audience. He was also a key figure in the civil rights movement, giving financial support to Martin Luther King, Jr. and funding organizations like the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee. He was an organizer of the 1963 March on Washington.
More recently, Belafonte has worked on efforts to fight poverty and AIDS and was a vocal critic of former President George W. Bush. On Tuesday, he again criticized the former president, saying Bush led a "regime that stole an election" and led the nation to war in Iraq without justification. -- (AP)