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Patrick Jeffers Jersey

A barrier of majestic cottonwood and pecan trees encloses and shades one of Austin’s greatest outdoor gems. Inside the pastoral oasis, one golfer admires his lofted wedge shot framed against the city’s skyline while four friends scream as a final bet-winning putt drops on the ninth hole.

A horde of buddies who might not yet be of drinking age descends on the ancient brick clubhouse before their round, determined to add their names to the wall that commemorates holes-in-one, as another crew that includes a dog posts up at a picnic table with a cooler, easing into a sunny fall Friday afternoon of golf and camaraderie. The Colorado River ambles by in the near distance. Soon a train will chug over the berm, evoking ideas of frontier travel. You can glimpse passing cars, but Austin’s maddening traffic seems miles away.

The 70-year-old Butler Pitch & Putt feels like an illusion. The park and its nine-hole course, surrounded by non-stop growth and increasing density, holds what can feel like a timeless place in Austin’s cultural and topographical landscape.

The Kinser family ran the recreational park throughout its history, but when the family’s contract ended this year, the City of Austin put out a request for proposals for the operation. A group of longtime Austinites operating under the banner Pecan Grove Golf Partners won the contract in a 7-4 vote from the City Council in June, beating out the Kinser family, which was disqualified because its proposal documents submitted to the city were not signed. The decision was met with some contentiousness from community members who were worried about the fate of the park and course.

Pecan Grove Golf Partners is a group of golf professionals, hospitality veterans and creative entrepreneurs who say they appreciate the course’s role in the Austin community and want to preserve, enhance and evolve the city-owned parcel that has welcomed golfers since 1950. The partners include people from hospitality company New Waterloo (La Condesa, Sway, South Congress Hotel) and golf industry veterans Jason Black and Lynn Shackelford. They are working with collaborators such as Michael Fojtasek, chef-owner of Olamaie, and architect and recreational sports enthusiast Jack Sanders, whose the Long Time is home to Austin’s sandlot baseball revival. They have a 10-year contract with the city that includes two five-year extension opportunities.

Butler Pitch & Putt holds a fond place in the hearts of many Austinites, including members of the new management group. But the gem needs polishing. Pecan Grove Golf Partners plan to replace the greens with all new grass (likely Bermuda or zoysia), install a new irrigation system to keep that new grass healthy, make minor adjustments to a few holes, add a food and beverage operation, and expand the golf programming at Butler. Major changes to the grass and greens will likely start in summer 2020.

The partners at first had visions of more dramatic changes that included artificial turf and high-end golf touches, but as they considered the park, its aesthetic, vibe and place in the community, they dialed back their ambitions.

“Fix it up; tweak it. But it’s a period place. It’s pretty great as it is,” New Waterloo partner and native Austinite Bart Knaggs says. “How do you put some care into it without disrupting it?”

Green fees, currently $9 on weekdays and $11 on weekends, will likely go up between 50 cents and a dollar once improvements are made, and all changes will have to be approved by the City Council. Pecan Grove Golf Partners is also committed to meeting the city’s living wage requirement for employees.

“Seeing the request for proposal when it came out made me even more excited; the city obviously has a really good understanding of what this has become to the community and the city and wants to protect it,” partner Patrick Jeffers of New Waterloo says.

Pecan Grove Golf Partners will fund all of the park improvements while paying the city a base monthly fee of $2,700 and an annual payment of 18% of gross revenues (minus the base monthly fees). So, if the annual revenue was $500,000, which was about what was made in 2018, the city would collect about $57,000. As the course takes in more revenue, the city makes more money.

Native Austinite Black and three-time NCAA basketball champion Shackleford will help oversee golf programming that the partners hope will introduce a broader swath of the population, including younger players, to golf. They also say they believe the improved grass and consistent care will create a course that will attract regular golfers who might have previously bypassed Butler for traditional 18-hole courses.

“With golf changing so much, the rumor is that more and more people are playing. And this is the perfect entry point for people. If they can have a great experience out here, they may take up the game,” Black says.

But don’t expect the spirit of the place to change. The Pecan Grover Partners still want Butler to be a casual experience that all can enjoy, not just those who know the difference between a lob wedge and an attack wedge.

“This place is a park first, beer garden second and golf course third,” Knaggs says.

Part of the attraction of the revamped facilities will be the food and beverage operation led by Fojtasek, who has been a regular on the mini-links of Butler for 15 years. The chef-owner of Olamaie, recently named by the Statesman the No. 1 restaurant in Austin for the third time in five years, doesn’t plan to get fancy with the offerings.

Fojtasek says he has a menu in mind that includes pimento cheese sandwiches, his famous Olamaie biscuits at breakfast, hot dogs and peach ice cream sandwiched between ginger snap cookies, a direct homage to the sweet treats served at the Masters. The clubhouse will also introduce beer and wine sales, though customers are still welcome to bring their own beverages.

The chef, who says he’s played Butler daily or weekly depending on his level of employment, has long been attracted by the course’s super casual vibe and the range of players who show up regularly.

“I’m friends with people who play here on a regular basis, and I want it to stay that way,” Fojtasek says. “The last thing I’d want is for everybody to show up and say, ‘What did you do the place?’ We want to do things that are tasty but don’t wanna take away the Snickers bar.”

Butler regulars will encounter familiar faces under new management. General Manager Neysa Joseph-Orr, who has been at the course for three years, continues in her role, and 17-year Butler veteran Matt Ryan, who many say feels like the spiritual center of the park, has returned after a three-year absence. Those old faces will give an added layer of continuity to the course and park whose history and culture the Pecan Grove Golf Partners and their collaborators take seriously.

“This is one of those places in Austin that is really sacred ground in a lot of ways,” Sanders says.

Oren O’Neal Jersey

Elliott Ruiz was guarding a Marine checkpoint on April 4, 2003, part of a mission to rescue seven America POWs from an Iraqi camp. On his watch, a vehicle came barreling toward a barbed-wire fence that U.S. troops had erected, the driver’s side tires caught it, popped it off its stakes, and dragged the wire from its place.

Ruiz bolted, but not fast enough. The wire caught on his right leg, wrapped around it, and, bearing his body weight, ripped it wide open.

Ruiz’s life would never be the same. He suffered nerve damage and needed multiple surgeries, which led to Charlie horses that caused muscle spasms, which in turn necessitated back surgeries. He went under the knife 14 times in all—10 procedures on his leg, four on his back.

And after all that, he never really got the help he needed.

Same goes for Oren O’Neal.

In 2007, Raiders coach Lane Kiffin named him the team’s rookie of the year. The former Arkansas State walk-on’s future as a football player looked bright—and his goals were all in front of him. The next summer he went into Oakland’s third preseason expecting to play strictly at fullback. One of his teammates was a late scratch. So Kiffin asked him to fill in on the kickoff return team.

On the opening kickoff, O’Neal sprinted back to his landmark, turned, and his foot caught in the Coliseum grass. As he went to engage a Cardinals kickoff cover man, his knee went backwards, much like the injury suffered by ex-Bears tight end Zach Miller a couple years ago. O’Neal was carried off the field. On the sideline, the trainers loaded him on to the table and picked up his leg by his foot. It sagged like a noodle.

He would beat the odds one more time and make it back onto the field. But his back gave out in the summer of 2009, in a joint practice with the Niners, to the point where he couldn’t stand up straight. It was so bad that when new coach Tom Cable took the team to a winery on the Raiders’ next day off, O’Neal sat down and couldn’t breathe. He made it halfway through that season before going on IR.

He’d never play again.

On the surface, these two stories are very different. One was at war. The other was in a game. And every pro football player I know is always clear in how wrong it is to analogize what they do with what happens in the military.

“These guys are war vets,” says O’Neal. “It’s different. We’re battling in football, but we’re not at war.”

But what O’Neal was fighting post-football actually wasn’t unlike what Ruiz would go toe-to-toe with once the Marines retired him in August 2005, as a result of his injuries. And Fox NFL reporter Jay Glazer came to realize that in working with guys from both walks of life at his West Hollywood gym.

It’s why Glazer and ex-Green Beret Nate Boyer founded MVP (Merging Veterans and Players) in 2015.

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So you can guess where this story is going. O’Neal found MVP. So did Ruiz.

For those guys, and everyone else in the program, the Fourth of July is a big day, and not just for the reasons it is for every other American. Glazer, Boyer and the leaders of MVP have marked it as a day for each of the guys they’re working with to take pride in who they are and what they’ve accomplished. Which, believe it or not, a lot of ex-players and soldiers actually struggle with.

Ruiz took the occasion two years ago to tell Glazer and the MVP group his whole story. They knew about his injuries. They didn’t know they were sustained in the process of rescuing prisoners of war.

Bill Kellogg Jersey

The Paradise Irrigation District is looking to replace another director — this time it’s Division 2, Director Bill Kellogg. Kellogg becomes the fourth director to resign from the District since the Camp Fire hit Paradise. He was first appointed on April 20, 2005, and was last elected on Nov. 6, 2018, just two days before the Camp Fire.

It also means that director Marc Sulik now has more time of the board than any other director who was elected on Feb. 2, 2017 during the recall. He ran unopposed in 2018 and was appointed on Dec. 7. 2018.

On Wednesday, December 18, 2019 — which was before the last meeting — Kellogg emailed Paradise Irrigation District Secretary Georgeanna Borrayo of his intention to resign and stated December 31, 2019, would be his last day.

Tonight the board will now begin the process of finding a replacement. The board, for the fourth time 13 months will have to decide how it wants to fill the vacancy.

It must notify the county elections official within 15 days of the date of the vacancy, or by today.

The remaining members of the district board can fill the vacancy by appointment or by calling an election within 60 days of the vacancy. If no action is taken for a period of 60 days immediately subsequent to a vacancy on such a board, the Board of Supervisors shall have the authority to fill the vacancy by appointment. According to the agenda, “although rarely utilized, the law does provide for an alternative appointment in that the PID board may call for an election to fill the vacancy in lieu of appointment.”

The district will have to call an election if the seat remains vacant for 90 days. If they appoint a replacement, that person will hold the seat until November 2020. The 2020 winner would hold that seat until December 2020. The deadline to apply for Kellogg’s seat will be no later than 4 p.m., on February 12 with an appointment set for Feb. 19.

The steady loss of directors for the district started in December 2018 when board President Dan Wentland resigned in order to move to Tennessee and he was replaced by Dan Hansen. Then in February, Anne Rice resigned due to health issues but it took the district until mid-April to appoint Director Shelby Boston.

Then in August, Robert Prevot announced that he was resigning immediately, saying that he and his wife had would not rebuild on their Paradise lot, but had instead relocated to Cottonwood. Gregg Mower was named in September to replace him.

Prevot had replaced Cliff Jacobson who had resigned due to conflicts with Kellogg — who in his almost 15 years on the board, had conflicts with current District Manager Kevin Phillips, former District Manager George Barber, and directors Ken Hunt, Larry Duncan and Sep Carola.

Despite those disputes, Kellogg never lost an election and sometimes ran unopposed.

The board will also likely pass a resolution thanking Kellogg for his service. Kellogg will be thanked for a “key role in contributing ideas and guidance for major projects including, Pipeline Replacement Grant Projects, Storage Tank Rehabilitation and Upgrade Projects, Magalia Raw Water Bypass Project, construction of a new Corporation Yard Facility and relocation of the Administration Office.

He will also be thanked for his role in the AutomatedMeter Reading Project, Water Rights Petition for Extension,and PID Water System RecoveryPlan following the destructive Camp Fire in Butte County on November 8, 2018.

Kellogg also served on committees like the Water ConservationCommittee, liaison for the proposed Lakeridge Park Botanical Garden, Facilities Master Planning Committee for the District’s New Corporation Yard Project, and as chairperson for the Paradise Lake & Recreation Committee, and Ad Hoc Demonstration Garden Committee where in June 2018, the PID educational demonstration garden was opened for ridge residents to visit.

Estes Banks Jersey

When I was in college, I was very naïve and never thought I’d play pro football. I was kind of a late bloomer and all of a sudden I started getting calls and I knew people were interested in me. When the American Football League (AFL) had the draft, I was a redshirt, I played five years at Oregon so I was in the redshirt draft. I was actually skiing on Mt. Hood on the day when I was drafted so I knew very little of what was going on. When I came back, my roommate said, “Gee whiz, the Redskins and the Raiders have been calling you.” It was Ron Wolf who gave me a call at that time. He said, “We’re very interested in you, and it looks like you have a choice between going to Washington, D.C. or Oakland.” I said, “Ooh, that’s going to be a hard choice.” I was being facetious, of course.

I ended up with Oakland. Actually, I had an agent and he kind of guided me in the direction of the Raiders. I came in late along with Gene Upshaw. Both of us were in the National Guard and we came in the same day and got picked up at the San Francisco Airport. There was a lot of stress at that time because of the Vietnam situation. I really didn’t know what to expect except I knew I was in halfway decent shape, and so was Gene, since we had been running for the past four months in combat boots. It was very interesting and I was very welcome and just kind of blown away by the whole experience.

Al Davis was an amazing person. He was a wonderful guy, very warm. I took my son to one of the first reunions and didn’t know what to expect. I was with the Raiders for only one year before going to Cincinnati in the expansion draft. He took my son Chris by the arm and walked him around the room and introduced him to everybody. When I ran into Al at the airport some time later on, he came up and said, “Hi Danny, how come you’re not wearing your [AFL Championship] ring?”

I look back at it, the kinds of players we had, the characters. In rookie camp the first year, another rookie and I, I think it was Duane Benson or Bill Fairband, were walking off the field with Fred Biletnikoff and he had a bad practice and he says, “I’m going to get cut, I know I’m going to get cut, It’s probably going to happen tomorrow. I’m going to get cut!” Here’s probably the greatest flanker that ever played the game and he’s talking to two rookies about getting cut. It was just funny.

I think we had seven or eight Hall of Famers, including John Madden, who was linebackers coach that year. There were a lot of greats, we had Gene Upshaw, Jim Otto, Fred Biletnikoff – it was an amazing assembly of people. The Mad Bomber, Daryle Lamonica and Warren Wells came in that year too. It was amazing what he could do, we had a good line, we had good running backs, we had great receivers, everything came together that year, everything gelled.

Super Bowl II, they didn’t call it the Super Bowl at that time, it was the AFL-NFL Championship game, I think it was Vince Lombardi’s last game as coach of the Green Bay Packers and looking back that maybe made it more significant. We played a pretty good game but we had a fumble which was kind of where everything turned. Other than that I think we played pretty well.

I went to the Cincinnati Bengals in the 1968 expansion draft. As you can imagine, you go from the Super Bowl and having played in Oakland and then you end up in Cincinnati, in August, in Wilmington, Ohio, in the humidity. It was an amazing change. The Raiders were pretty loose with their players and then you go to Paul Brown who was a coat and tie type of guy, very strict, and had a totally different management style. Estes Banks and I were talking recently about how different that was. Mentally it was a very difficult transition.

The American Football League did very well and had a huge impact. Everything was more or less equal to the NFL, especially when the New York Jets won Super Bowl III. It leveled the playing field for both leagues. It happened really quick. We had a great team in 1967, I think everybody knew it, we had great players, we almost made it to Super Bowl III. I think everything equalized very quickly within three or four years after the melding of the two leagues into the NFL.

We had some great guys and they’re still great today. I think the Raiders are probably one of the classiest teams and organizations, and all the players I’ve talked to say that no other team that they’ve been on has these alumni get togethers to the extent that the Raiders have and they’re always first class events.

For more historical content, head all season for new stories, videos, photos and more presented by_ _Tequila Corralejo_*.

Clifton Geathers Jersey

At around 10 a.m. on Feb. 22, former NFL stars Robert and Clifton Geathers, current NFL safety Clayton Geathers and Carvers Bay High School assistant football coach Matthews Richards, stopped by Pleasant Hill Elementary School to lead a school assembly called “Leaders in Training.”

Pleasant Hill was the fourth of five schools the Geathers family visited on Feb. 21 and 22; they also visited Browns Ferry Elementary, Plantersville Elementary, Carvers Bay Middle School and Rosemary Middle School.

The L.I.T. program started last school year as a way to encourage children who attended Carvers Bay Middle and Browns Ferry Elementary to make the A/B honor roll. This year, they expanded their program to five area schools and Robert said he hopes they can continue to grow in the coming years.

Pleasant Hill Principal Teddy Graham said he was grateful that the Geathers family included his school in the program this year.

“I know them personally and I’m so proud of them for what they have accomplished.” Graham said. “I’m so grateful for them including our school in their program. I think our kids are going to look up to them knowing they are from this area and that they have achieved that much success.”

Robert said during his time as a Cincinnati Bengal, then Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis hosted the Learning is Cool program, which inspired Robert to bring the L.I.T. program to Georgetown County.

“When we were in our NFL communities, we were engaged a lot,” Robert said. “I worked with him during that program as a player who went out to schools. Academic achievement went up dramatically. So I thought it would be a good idea to start it here.”

During the 45 minute assembly, Richards introduced Clifton, Clayton and Robert individually and each took an opportunity to explain the impact academics has had on their lives.

“No one can take knowledge from you,” Clayton said during the assembly. “And that’s what I pride myself on and I think that’s what we need to pride ourselves on.”

Robert talked about the importance of embracing where you came from and making the best of the hand life deals you.

“When you guys play a card game, you don’t know what card you are going to get,” Robert said. “When you pick them up, you have to make do with them. That’s how life is. You have to make the best of the situation and roll with it.”

Graham said he hopes his students understand the importance of becoming a good reader and taking their education seriously.

“Being a strong reader will take you a long way,” he said. “They reiterated that of all their accomplishments, the thing they are proudest of is getting their degree. Long-term success, more than anything, is about getting your education.”

After the program, Robert said while they are just re-enforcing what other adults around them are saying, he hopes the kids were able to take something away from the message.

“We are speaking to the things they are hearing from teachers and parents and maybe, with guys they see play on TV, maybe it will be cool and they will take heed to it.”

Leonard Wester Jersey

The San Francisco 49ers have signed former Tampa Bay Buccaneers offensive tackle Leonard Wester to a reserve/futures contract, according to Chris Biderman of the Sacramento Bee.

Chris Biderman

The #49ers today signed former Missouri Western tackle Leonard Wester to a reserve/futures contract.

6:16 AM – Jan 15, 2020
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The Buccaneers signed Wester as an undrafted free agent out of Missouri Western in 2016. He signed on with the Jacksonville Jaguars on April 4, 2019, but was waived with an injury designation during the team’s roster cuts on August 31, 2019, and reverted to injured reserve.

The Buccaneers waived Wester with an injury settlement on September 6, 2019.

Wester has appeared in 27 games with one start in his three NFL seasons from 2016 through 2018.

Wester is the fourth player the 49ers have signed to a reserve/futures contract this month. The team also signed defensive end Jonathan Kongbo, defensive back Derrick Kindred, and defensive back Chris Edwards.

A reserve/futures contract keeps a player tied to a team but doesn’t go into effect until the start of the new league year.

In the NFL, you have to have a short-term memory and take it game-by-game. Jacksonville Jaguars offensive tackle Leonard Wester has that exact mindset after having a disappointing outing against the Philadelphia Eagles on Thursday.

“You’ve got to move on as fast as you can, especially during camp,” Wester said. “It’s not like during the season when you’re going to be there and you get another opportunity. We had a couple of guys get cut after the first game and then we signed new guys. I could get a call tomorrow and they could tell me, ‘Thanks for your time here, but it’s time to go.’

“I’m just going to focus on getting better every opportunity I have and try to put this one behind me.”

During Jacksonville’s second preseason game, Wester struggled; allowing a strip/sack on rookie Garder Minshew. The Jaguars also were unable to get anything going on the ground, rushing for just 59 yards on 21 carries. Wester was on the field for the majority of the game.

Just a week prior to his poor performance, Wester played reasonably well at left tackle against the Baltimore Ravens. However, if he hopes to have a long career in the NFL, he will need to be versatile along the offensive line.

Entering the 2019 season, Wester is expected to be the team’s backup left tackle to Cam Robinson. This is Wester’s first season in Jacksonville after spending three seasons with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Wester will get his chance to bounce back when the Jaguars face the Miami Dolphins in their third exhibition game.

Ade Jimoh Jersey

Will someone please make this movie? Picture a college classroom filled with larger-than-life current and former NFL players, some with their wives, hitting the books for six weeks during the offseason to earn a masters degree in business administration. It’s happening right here in Washington, with a new program at George Washington University. I heard firsthand accounts of the program at a charity dinner this weekend hosted by participant and Redskins player Rocky McIntosh.

The executive MBA program created by GW is called STAR, because it’s aimed at individuals with “special talent, access, and responsibilities.” In addition to professional athletes, it targets people in the entertainment industry. The slogan is: “Learn how to turn your celebrity into a powerful brand.”

Derrick Dockery, a former Redskin who currently plays for the Dallas Cowboys, is in the program with his wife, Emma. “The lockout was a wakeup call,” said Emma of their decision to join STAR. The pair met as undergrads at the University of Texas, where Dockery was a Longhorns star, and now live with their young children in Lansdowne, Virginia. “We need to be prepared for life after football,” she said. “That’s how our friends who are also in the program feel, too.”

Imagine in one classroom, in addition to McIntosh and Dockery, current Redskins Josh Wilson and Darrel Young; free agent Antwaan Randle El, who played last season for the Pittsburgh Steelers; Lance Johnstone, formerly of the Oakland Raiders; and Ukee Dozier, formerly of the Minnesota Vikings, to name only a few. This is the first year of the two-year program, which involves plenty of out-of-class work but just six weeks in the classroom: two at GW, two at Columbia University in New York, and two at a California institution still to be designated. Upon completion, the participants will be awarded an MBA.

At the Palm Sunday night, several of the players, plus John Auville, Eric Bickel, Jason Bishop, and J.P. Flaim of the radio show The Sports Junkies, served as celebrity waiters for a $200-a-plate fundraiser for the A GRAN Foundation, set up by McIntosh and his wife, Alessia, to fund and actively support young children in need from kindergarten on. More than 87 fans and friends attended, and enjoyed a wine bar and appetizers of crabcakes, spring rolls, and smoked salmon, before sitting down to a three-course surf and turf dinner. As deft in a crowded dining room as on the field, former Skins runningback Clinton Portis and wide receiver Randle El guided platters of food through the tight crowd. Not one platter was fumbled.

It would be impossible to attend a Redskins dinner and not discuss the topic that burns up local sports news: What about the quarterback position? Charles Mann, brandishing one of his two Super Bowl rings (from the good old Redskins days), was unequivocally against the idea of owner Dan Snyder signing soon-to-be former Indianapolis Colts quarterback Peyton Manning, who was out this season due to a neck injury and surgeries. “They need to go with the [Mike] Shanahan plan,” he said, citing the Redskins’ head coach. “[Take] three years to build the team, rather than doing what Snyder always does: go for the big name.” [Ed. note: The Washingtonian’s Brett Haber agrees; read his take here.]

NFL Hall of Famer and Giants and Redskins legend Sam Huff was also direct about Manning, but in a far more physical way. “If they hire Peyton Manning,” said the former linebacker, “the first thing someone like me is going to do is hit him hard, right here”—and poked me in the neck. Ouch. Portis, who reportedly is trying to get back with the Redskins, saw the issue differently: “A healthy Peyton Manning is good for anybody.”

Other current and former NFL players at the dinner included former Redskins Pat Fischer, Derrick Frost, and Ade Jimoh; Jerome McDougle Jr. of the Philadelphia Eagles; and Don Davis of the New England Patriots.

The evening was good fun, a football fan’s dream come true—not to mention a gourmand’s paradise. You haven’t seen a table full of food until you’ve seen several NFL players sit down to eat, which most of them did at the end of the evening. I joined Charles Mann and Brian Mitchell, the latter of whom opted for lamb chops and salmon over lobster and steak (“lower fat content,” he said). Where did our conversation go? To injuries and fitness. Mitchell said he was worried he’s gained a few pounds over his playing weight. Both recalled injuries on the field, various injections to get back in the game, surgeries, and more injuries. When I mentioned that my doctor thinks I might have a torn meniscus, Mann roared with laughter. “Just one?” he said. “I’ve had five or six, with all the surgeries. I have no meniscus left in either knee.”

Stan Mitchell Jersey

Like many other religious leaders, the Rev. Stan Mitchell once believed in conversion therapy for gay Christians. Years ago, before his views on homosexuality evolved, Mitchell would send parishioners to so-called therapy, hoping to turn them straight with the threat of eternal damnation.

“I was a pastor in a megachurch, and I was party to destroying these people,” Mitchell said during an interview on CBS News on Sunday morning.

“Do you have any idea of how many young people you had recommended go through conversion therapy?” asked CBS correspondent Erin Moriarty.

“I’ve tried to forget. I’ve tried to forget,” Mitchell replied.

Mitchell, the founding pastor of Nashville’s GracePoint Church, a progressive interdenominational Christian congregation, spoke out against the highly controversial practice of anti-gay conversion therapy during an 12-minute segment on the practice on CBS News on Sunday morning. During the news segment, Mitchell says the therapy, which does lasting damage, is still used to attempt to convert children as young as 10.

Mitchell previously made headlines in 2015 when he announced that his church, which was previously evangelical, would support same-sex marriage and broaden its membership to include all sexual orientations and gender identities. Two years later, the church moved from its original location in conservative Williamson County to more liberal Nashville, where it remains today.

During the interview with CBS, Mitchell said he also started speaking out against conversion therapy in 2015. Since then, he’s lost two-third of his congregation.

“The only thing I regret is that I didn’t do it sooner. People died while I was trying to find courage,” Mitchell told CBS. “In the last four years, I’ve done at least three or four funerals of people who took their life because of this issue.”Stan Mitchell Jersey

You can see more of Mitchell’s interview and other stories about the perils of conversion therapy by watching the entire CBS segment. The CBS segment focuses largely on the story of Adam Trimmer, a 29-year-old Virginia man who said he attempted suicide after being sent to conversion therapy as a teenager.

Mark Malone Jersey

The most unlikely teams to appear in an NFL conference championship game
Posted 13 hours ago | By Sam Robinson
This year, the Titans became one of the more unlikely teams to venture to a conference championship game. But they have some notable company. Here are the teams that surprised the football world most in reaching the postseason’s penultimate round.

1 of 20 20. 2005 Pittsburgh Steelers
2005 Pittsburgh Steelers
Mark Cowan-Icon Sportswire
The Steelers secured Bill Cowher’s only Super Bowl title by winning their final four regular-season games to make a tough AFC field at 11-5. They may have beaten the Bengals without Carson Palmer’s ACL tear, but that did make Cincinnati’s task nearly impossible. The 14-2 Colts were 8.5-point divisional-round favorites. But Pittsburgh’s No. 3-ranked defense shredded Indianapolis’ offensive line for five sacks, leading to an 18-point Steeler lead. Ben Roethlisberger’s tackle rescuing Jerome Bettis, who had fumbled and Mike Vanderjagt’s final NFL kick misfiring badly ensured the upset.

2 of 20 19. 1996 Carolina Panthers
1996 Carolina Panthers
Al Bello-Getty Images
At 12-4, the Panthers launched one of the best second seasons in any sport. Free agent linebackers Sam Mills, Kevin Greene and Lamar Lathon, along with ex-49ers starting cornerback Eric Davis, led the second-year franchise to the NFC West title. All made the Pro Bowl and carried the No. 2-ranked defense into a playoff bye. But the defending Super Bowl champion Cowboys were still 4.5-point favorites in Charlotte. Michael Irvin broke his collarbone on the game’s second play, and the Panthers intercepted Troy Aikman three times in a 26-17 win that booked them a trip to Lambeau Field where they lost to the Packers in the NFC championship.

3 of 20 18. 2014 Indianapolis Colts
2014 Indianapolis Colts
Hector Acevedo/Zumapress-Icon Sportswire
Andrew Luck’s breakout came when the prodigious quarterback threw 40 touchdown passes in a season that peaked with a divisional-round upset in Denver. Saddled with Trent Richardson as his leading rusher after GM Ryan Grigson traded a first-round pick for the uninspiring back, Luck led the Colts to a somewhat forgettable 11-5 season. But after a first-round win over the Bengals, the Colts made headlines with a 24-13 divisional-round win against a Broncos team favored by seven points. Indianapolis’ 19th-ranked defense stifled an injured Peyton Manning. Unfortunately, this upset gave the world two years of Deflategate.

4 of 20 17. 2011 New York Giants
2011 New York Giants
Anthony J. Causi-Icon Sportswire
A 38-35 midseason loss to the Packers showed this team’s capabilities, but the Giants still underachieved and needed a Cowboys December collapse to merely make the postseason. But after injuries shelved Osi Umenyiora, Justin Tuck and Ahmad Bradshaw during part of the regular season, the three helped the 9-7 Giants go on an all-time run. Their 24-2 wild-card rout over the Falcons is forgotten because of what happened next: a 37-20 shocker over the 15-1 Packers in Hakeem Nicks’ finest hour . Nicks, Eli Manning, Victor Cruz and defensive coordinator Perry Fewell’s NASCAR package then fueled Big Blue to a Super Bowl title.

5 of 20 16. 1979 Los Angeles Rams
1979 Los Angeles Rams
Focus on Sport-Getty Images
Although the Rams were a 1970s playoff mainstay, their ’79 team floundered in a nine-win season that included the loss of quarterback Pat Haden. They entered the playoffs as champions of a long-mediocre NFC West and were 8.5-point underdogs against the defending NFC champion Cowboys, who’d beaten them by a combined 57-6 in their previous two meetings. But Vince Ferragamo’s three touchdown passes — the third a go-ahead 50-yarder to Billy Waddy — eliminated Dallas, ending Roger Staubach’s career. Lacking a top-10 offense or defense, the Rams still shut out the Buccaneers on the road to Super Bowl XIV.

6 of 20 15. 1985 New England Patriots
1985 New England Patriots
Joanne Rathe/The Boston Globe-Getty Images
These Patriots became the first road wild-card team to reach a Super Bowl, but they were not exactly a fluke. Riding Pro Bowl seasons from running back Craig James and Hall of Fame linebacker Andre Tippett (16.5 sacks), New England finished 11-5. After a midseason injury, Tony Eason returned to lead the Patriots to a 26-14 win over the Jets — the Pats’ first playoff win since 1963. They then intercepted Raiders QB Marc Wilson three times in a Round 2 upset. While a disastrous Raiders miscue gave the Pats a late lead, they proved their legitimacy by forcing six Dolphins turnovers in the AFC championship game.

7 of 20 14. 2012 Baltimore Ravens
2012 Baltimore Ravens
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This team’s first encounter with Peyton Manning’s initial Bronco squad ended in a December blowout loss. The Ravens had lost three straight and that month fired offensive coordinator Cam Cameron. After a Round 1 win over the Colts, the 10-6 AFC North champs were nine-point underdogs in Denver. Despite failing to contain Joe Flacco, the Broncos had the Ravens in near-Hail Mary mode in the final minute. But Flacco’s fling to Jacoby Jones forced overtime, and Justin Tucker’s game-winner sent the Ravens to Foxborough and eventually Super Bowl XLVII. Flacco threw 11 touchdown passes and no picks that postseason.

8 of 20 13. 2010 New York Jets
2010 New York Jets
Anthony J. Causi-Icon Sportswire
The Jets’ second straight sojourn to the AFC title game involved road wins over Peyton Manning and Tom Brady. Rex Ryan’s second Gang Green edition ranked sixth in DVOA and featured one of the league’s best defenses. But after losing 45-3 in a December Foxborough game, the Jets looked to be January pretenders. Revis Island was near its apex, however, and after the Jets crept past the Colts, they smothered Brady in the teams’ Round 2 rubber match. Mark Sanchez threw three touchdown passes and helped the 9.5-point underdogs to three double-digit leads in the “Can’t wait!” game. The Jets would go on to lose to Pittsburgh in the AFC championship.

9 of 20 12. 2017 Jacksonville Jaguars
2017 Jacksonville Jaguars
Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
This season briefly absolved the Jaguars bypassing Patrick Mahomes and Deshaun Watson to stick with Blake Bortles, but in the Jags’ defense, they were probably a correctly officiated Myles Jack fumble-six from Super Bowl LII. Jacksonville (10-6) snapped a six-season skid of 10-loss seasons but set playoff football back years with a 10-3 Round 1 win over Buffalo. That game ended with 87 Bortles passing yards. The Jags’ six-Pro Bowler defense protected Bortles and helped upend the 13-3 Steelers twice — the divisional-round game ending Pittsburgh’s “Killer B’s” run. Jacksonville’s blueprint, however, did not last.

10 of 20 11. 2019 Tennessee Titans
2019 Tennessee Titans
Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports
Rampaging past nemeses with 1986 Mike Tyson- (or 2017 John Wick)-level success, Derrick Henry has led the Titans’ transformation from 8-7 wild-card hopeful to January giant killer. Tennessee has also gone from a 2-4 team that endured a shutout loss in Denver to one that may have ended the Bill Belichick-Tom Brady run before hijacking Lamar Jackson’s coronation. Since benching Marcus Mariota for Ryan Tannehill, the Titans are 9-3. No team without a bye has made a Super Bowl in seven years, but Henry’s 577 rushing yards since Week 17 should instill fear in a Chiefs team that has yet to contain him. (Henry ran for 188 yards and two touchdowns in Tennessee’s win over K.C. in Week 10.)

11 of 2010. 1978 Houston Oilers
1978 Houston Oilers
George Gojkovich-Getty Images
The first of the Oilers teams that met the Steelers for the AFC title entered the playoffs at 10-6 but with a minus-15 point differential. Bum Phillips’ squad housed Hall of Famers Earl Campbell, Elvin Bethea and Robert Brazile but ranked 14th on offense and 16th defensively. The Oilers were 6.5-point underdogs in Miami in Round 1 and six-point dogs to topple the Patriots in Round 2. But these Pats, who held the single-season rushing record for 41 years, fell behind, 24-0. Dan Pastorini threw three second-quarter TD passes, one a 71-yarder to a tightrope-walking Ken Burrough, en route to Pittsburgh.

12 of 209. 2009 New York Jets
2009 New York Jets
Anthony J. Causi-Icon Sportswire
The first year of the Rex Ryan-Mark Sanchez partnership produced a 9-7 record but two playoff upsets. Behind Darrelle Revis’ best season, the Jets defense led the league in points allowed and overcame Sanchez’s 12-20 TD-INT ratio. Thomas Jones rushed for 1,402 yards during the regular season but took a backseat to rookie Shonn Greene, who ignited for 263 yards and two TDs in the Jets’ road wins over the Bengals and Chargers. The Bolts were nine-point favorites but could not beat a Jets team that received 100 passing yards from Sanchez. The top-seeded Colts ended this run a week later.

13 of 20 8. 1979 Tampa Bay Buccaneers
1979 Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Sylvia Allen-Getty Images
The Buccaneers from 1976-78 won seven games, so it proved interesting when John McKay’s team beat his five-year rebuild plan by a year. Buoyed by a No. 1-ranked defense built around Hall of Fame defensive end Lee Roy Selmon, the Bucs went 10-6 and won the NFC Central after a 3-0 win over the Chiefs in a Week 16 rainstorm. Second-year quarterback Doug Williams completed 42 percent of his passes that season, but he (and Ricky Bell’s 38-carry, 142-yard, two-TD day) led the 4.5-point underdog Bucs to a 24-17 divisional-round win over the Eagles. They then lost, 9-0, to the Rams and did not return to Round 3 until 1999.

14 of 20 7. 1987 Minnesota Vikings
1987 Minnesota Vikings
George Rose-Getty Images
The Vikings’ 8-7 record deceives a bit, because Minnesota’s scabs went 0-3 during the players’ strike. But this season produced a still-shocking playoff upset. The Vikings used both Wade Wilson and Tommy Kramer extensively post-strike, but Wilson took over during a 44-10 first-round demolition of the 12-3 Saints. But the Vikings’ 36-24 upset of a 49ers team that ranked first on offense and defense remains an all-timer. Wilson and Anthony Carter hooked up 10 times for 227 yards, and the Vikings sacked Joe Montana four times before Bill Walsh yanked him for Steve Young. Eventual champion Washington barely staved off Minnesota in the NFC championship.

15 of 206. 1984 Pittsburgh Steelers
1984 Pittsburgh Steelers
George Gojkovich-Getty Images
Gifted a cakewalk during a brutal AFC Central year , the Steelers went just 9-7 and lost to six non-playoff teams. They also represented the only blemish on the 18-1 49ers’ resume. This marked the first full season without Terry Bradshaw, but Mark Malone helped John Stallworth to his finest statistical season (1,395 yards) to go along with Mike Merriweather’s 15 sacks. The Steelers were 4.5-point underdogs against the 13-3 Broncos in Round 2, but Malone outplayed second-year QB John Elway in a 24-17 win. Pittsburgh could not derail Dan Marino’s record-smashing march the following week.

16 of 20 5. 2008 Arizona Cardinals
2008 Arizona Cardinals
Cliff Welch-Icon Sportswire
Larry Fitzgerald altered this team’s legacy, because this was a 9-7 team that won six games against NFC West competition in perhaps the worst era an NFL division’s experienced. Matt Cassel’s Patriots blew out the Cardinals, 47-7, in December, and Arizona’s defense ranked 28th that season. But the Cards moved into the NFC championship round because of Fitz’s 267 yards and two TDs in wins over the Falcons and Panthers, the latter a 33-13 stunner. It didn’t hurt that Jake Delhomme threw five interceptions in a game Carolina entered as a 10-point favorite. The Cards rode that momentum to Super Bowl XLIII.

17 of 204. 1979 Houston Oilers
1979 Houston Oilers
Focus on Sport-Getty Images
Aside from the Steelers, the 1979 season’s penultimate round featured odd entrants. The Oilers were better than their ’78 team, going 11-5 and deploying MVP Earl Campbell. But after a Round 1 win over the Broncos, the Oilers faced the Air Coryell Chargers without Campbell or Dan Pastorini. Linebacker Vernon Perry’s NFL-record four-INT day bailed out Houston. Dan Fouts threw five picks against an Oilers defense that may well have deciphered the high-flying Bolts’ signals. Backup Oilers QB Gifford Nielsen’s third-quarter TD pass to Mike Renfro clinched an unlikely trip back to Pittsburgh — a game in which Renfro also played a key role.

18 of 20 3. 1983 Seattle Seahawks
1983 Seattle Seahawks
Bernstein Associates-Getty Images
The first playoff berth in Seahawks history occurred in their eighth season and came with the team shuttling between QBs Jim Zorn and Dave Krieg. Chuck Knox eventually settled on Krieg, but “Ground Chuck” made rookie running back Curt Warner his centerpiece. Seattle went 9-7 and struggled to get defensive stops, but its 24th-ranked defense halted the Broncos in a 31-7 wild-card romp, setting up a Round 2 trip to Miami. Eight-point favorites, the Dolphins committed five turnovers -— including two on kick-return fumbles — in a 27-20 loss. Though the Seahawks swept the Raiders in the regular season, their third meeting, in the AFC championship, went L.A.’s way.

19 of 202. 1995 Indianapolis Colts
1995 Indianapolis Colts
Jonathan Daniel-Getty Images
A 9-7 team, the Colts became de facto AFC West champions in the playoffs. Losing Marshall Faulk early in a wild-card game in San Diego, Indianapolis turned to rookie Zack Crockett. The backup blitzed the Chargers for 147 yards and two touchdowns in a 35-20 upset win. The 13-3 Chiefs were nine-point favorites the following week. Without Faulk and carrying a middling defense, the Colts upset the Chiefs, 10-7. Although this game is remembered for Lin Elliott’s three missed field goals, the Colts picked off Steve Bono three times. A near-Hail Mary put the Colts inches from stealing a Super Bowl berth a week later.

20 of 201. 1996 Jacksonville Jaguars
1996 Jacksonville Jaguars
Allen Kee-Getty Images
A second-year franchise, the Jaguars began their season 3-6. But in a transcendent year for NFL expansion teams, they nevertheless voyaged to the AFC championship game. The Jags only reached the playoffs because Hall of Famer Morten Andersen missed a 31-yard field goal in Week 17, but they then upset the Bills (8.5-point favorites) in Round 1. After ending Jim Kelly’s career, the Jaguars ousted a 13-3 Broncos team favored by 12.5. The AFC’s top seed could not contain Mark Brunell or Natrone Means, allowing the Jags to join the Panthers in the league’s weirdest conference championship weekend.

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Emerging SA network connected with nearly 1,000 vets seeking civilian jobs
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Cedrick Brown is CEO of the Military Transition Network, a San Antonio-based company that provides recruiting and career coaching.
Cedrick Brown is CEO of the Military Transition Network, a San Antonio-based company that provides recruiting and career coaching.

By Kristen Mosbrucker – Reporter, San Antonio Business Journal
Jul 11, 2018, 7:11am CDT
Retired U.S. Navy veteran Cedrick Brown has seen nearly 1,000 people connect with his Military Transition Network, a San Antonio-based company that seeks to link employers with ex-military workers, since he launched it about a year ago.

Brown, a Houston-area native, joined the Navy as a teenager and served for 20 years, including several combat tours in the Middle East. When he became a civilian in 2013, he found the transition difficult as the culture in the private sector was a significant departure from what he’d become accustomed to.

Brown has been a case manager for United Service Organization Inc., a nonprofit that works with military veterans who transition from active duty to civilian life in San Antonio, and at the American GI Forum to provide job coaching for veterans and match employees with potential employers.

Brown described the Military Transition Network’s approach as holistic, which sometimes means connecting veterans with behavioral health resources to cope with common issues like post traumatic stress disorder before they work in the private sector. While most of the recruiting so far has been for technology industry jobs, the company plans to expand to health care and vocational careers. The company has worked with USAA, Globalscape Inc., Bunker Labs and Veterans United Home Loans of San Antonio, and it has a partnership with Geekdom LC’s Military Transition Outpost.

The company is looking for strategic partners in San Antonio, particularly those looking to expand their workforces with veterans. The network has been hosting open sessions where veterans can meet employers and learn more about their work cultures to see whether there might be a good fit.

“Our measure of success is [whether] in three to six months they are still employed,” Brown said.

Of the nearly 1,000 veterans the network has seen in San Antonio, the majority are not looking to other markets for jobs.

“What I’m seeing is that most people want to stay here, but then they find out there is a lot of competition here,” Brown said. “We have people with top security clearances who have overseen thousands of service members.”

Sometimes that means a veteran may accept a middle management role rather than an executive post, despite having decades of experience, and then work toward an executive job. The value of a veteran employee is distinguished by grit, loyalty and integrity, said Brown, who also runs a career coaching business as part of the network. The company charges companies for veteran recruitment services, while most of the veterans programs are free.

The company plans to expand with four new chapters on the East Coast, West Coast, Midwest and an office overseas in the coming year.