Ohio Sports

‘Frustrated’ Browns QB Mayfield storms away from interview

By TOM WITHERS AP Sports Writer
BEREA, Ohio (AP) — Baker Mayfield’s frustration finally boiled over. The losing is beating him.
Annoyed with a reporter’s line of questioning about a drive at the end of the first half in last week’s loss at New England, the Browns fiery quarterback abruptly ended his weekly interview session on Wednesday and stormed off.
Mayfield, who is tied for the NFL lead with 12 interceptions, grew increasingly agitated when a reporter asked him about a failed two-minute drive in a 27-13 loss to the Patriots. The Browns were called for a penalty, which Mayfield said prevented them from moving the ball.
“Was I happy with the drive? No, we didn’t score points,” Mayfield chirped. “That’s the dumbest question you could ask. What?”
Mayfield then disgustedly walked away from the lectern and toward his locker.
Soon after, the former No. 1 overall pick went on Twitter to explain his exasperation. Picked by some experts to win the AFC North, the Browns (2-5) haven’t played up to enormous expectations and have lost three straight games.
“Everybody wants to hear the truth until they actually get it,” Mayfield wrote. “I am who I am and always have been. Don’t call it emotional when it’s convenient and then passion when it fits. I care about winning, so yeah I’m frustrated.
“If I was to act like it’s okay to lose, then y’all would say that I’ve gotten complacent. My sense of urgency is at an all time high. And if I offend anybody along the way. that’s too bad.”
Before his minor meltdown, Mayfield was cordial while answering questions about Cleveland’s numerous issues this season. The Browns lead the league with 70 penalties, the offense has been unable to find a consistent rhythm and Mayfield has thrown just six touchdown passes after setting the league rookie record with 27 last season.
He’s ranked 32nd with a 57.6 percent completion rate, and Mayfield — along with Browns first-year coach Freddie Kitchens — haven’t figured out how to best use wide receivers Odell Beckham Jr. and Jarvis Landry, who have combined for one TD reception.
Mayfield has had a somewhat strained relationship with the Cleveland media since he arrived in 2018. He’s been defensive about some things, but this was the first time his temper got the best of him.
The exchange Wednesday began innocently with a reporter asking why there didn’t seem to be urgency late in the half.
“When the penalty happened, then we were behind the chains,” Mayfield countered.
When the reporter interjected with, “but,” Mayfield shot back.
“No, stop saying ‘but.’ I just told you the clock was running and we had a penalty,” Mayfield snapped. “Do you want to give them the ball back? No. You do not play; you do not know it. That is just plain and simple.”
Walking away angrily from a media session isn’t a major sin, but it’s not a great look either for a team leader or the player dubbed as the face of Cleveland’s franchise.
After the QB’s hasty exit, Browns left guard Joel Bitonio offered support to his teammate.
“I understand his passion and his desire to win,” he said. “He really wants to be the best and I feel like in that situation he feels like he’s being attacked. He probably feels like he answered the question to his fullest ability and he feels like it’s being piled on.
“Is it the right thing to do to storm off? Probably not, but that’s his personality. He’s fiery, he wants to be the best, and I think that just shows that he’s trying to get us to a certain level.”
Bitonio doesn’t feel the need to discuss the situation with Mayfield.
“It’s one of those situations where I just kind of keep my hands out of it and let Baker be Baker,” he said. “That’s just who he is.”
Mayfield’s emotions fuel him on the field, where he’s willing to engage in trash talk with opponents or join his teammates for an end-zone celebration following a score. He developed a reputation for brash behavior for some on-field antics while winning the Heisman Trophy at Oklahoma.
He’s been mostly well-behaved as a pro, but his second season has been a major struggle. After playing one of the league’s toughest schedules through seven games, the Browns visit Denver (2-6) on Sunday before playing three straight home games.
Mayfield said it’s time to start winning.
“We have to take responsibility and take it personal to do our jobs the very best to the highest ability,” he said. “Doing everything right. Physical mistakes are going to happen, but that is OK. Guys understand that we are human, but the mental aspect of it and the penalties and things like that are things we need to iron out, and that we will get fixed.”
NOTES: The Browns claimed LB Tae Davis on waivers from the Giants, who released him earlier this week. He’s appeared in 18 NFL games with five starts. Cleveland had an open roster spot after DE Genard Avery was traded Monday to Philadelphia. … S Damarious Randall remains sidelined with a hamstring injury sustained on Oct. 13 against Seattle.
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Ohio Sports

Dalton disagrees with benching, timing of Bengals’ move

By The Associated Press
CINCINNATI (AP) — Andy Dalton disagrees with his benching by the Cincinnati Bengals and the way they waited until shortly before the trade deadline to inform him, leaving no time to see if another team was interested.
Coach Zac Taylor decided Tuesday to switch to rookie Ryan Finley so the 0-8 Bengals can start making long-term decisions on the quarterback spot. If Finely struggles, the Bengals could draft another quarterback next year.
The move was announced on Dalton’s 32nd birthday. He waited a day before sharing his thoughts with teammates.
“I talked to everybody in the team meeting today and just said I don’t agree with the decision, but I’m here and I’m going to do my part and I’m going to be the same guy that I’ve been since I’ve got here,” the ninth-year veteran said.
Taylor informed Dalton of the switch early Tuesday afternoon.
“I think that’s an unfortunate thing,” Dalton said. “It happened three hours before the trade deadline. I wish if he was thinking about it at least let me try to see if I could end up somewhere else or at least see if there’s interest in possibly getting traded. At that point the way it was handled there wasn’t enough time to even have that happen.”
The move followed a 24-10 loss to the Rams in London that left the Bengals with their worst start in 11 years. The Bengals drafted Finley in the fourth round as Dalton’s backup, and he’ll get a chance to win the job.
Taylor emphasized that he wasn’t blaming Dalton for the 0-8 start. The Bengals have the worst running game in the NFL and Dalton has been sacked the third-most times behind an offensive line struggling to open holes and protect the quarterback. Finley will have that working against him as well as his inexperience.
Dalton has one year left on his deal. The benching indicates he doesn’t fit in the team’s long-term plans.
“If this is the end here, I don’t know,” Dalton said. “I don’t know what the future holds, but this is not how I envisioned it.”
Finley hasn’t taken a snap in a regular-season game. The Bengals are on their bye week, giving him extra time to prepare for his debut against the Ravens at Paul Brown Stadium. Finley ran the starting offense for the first time Wednesday, with receiver A.J. Green participating as he continues to recover from ankle surgery.
The Bengals changed their practice schedule because of a forecast of heavy rain — they don’t have a covered field. It rained during the workout.
“I threw my first pass to A.J. Green, so that was exciting,” Finley said. “The weather is what it is, but it was fun to get out there.”
Green is next on the Bengals’ to-do list. He hurt his left ankle during the first practice of training camp but is hoping to return against Baltimore. Green can become a free agent after the season and has expressed an interest in staying, if the team is willing to make a suitable offer. Contract talks were put on hold while he recuperated.
“We kind of slowed things down just for me to get healthy,” Green said Wednesday after practice. “They actually can see that I can go out there and play, then we can talk about a deal. That was my decision.”
Green was relieved when the Bengals didn’t trade him this week. However, he said he’ll be upset if they fail to reach an agreement and the team uses the franchise tag on him to keep him for one more year.
“For me, it would be an insult,” Green said. “No, I’m not into a one-year (contract). Give me a long-term (deal) or just let me go.”
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Ohio Headlines

Buster Douglas to promote long odds against Tyson to inspire

By JULIE CARR SMYTH Associated Press
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Buster Douglas will mark the 30th anniversary of his upset boxing victory over Mike Tyson with a campaign aimed at inspiring others who face long odds.
Douglas, 59, joined organizers at the Ohio Statehouse Wednesday to announce a series of “42 to 1” events framed around his unlikely 1990 victory to raise funds for workforce development, diversity and self-help programs for at-risk youth.
“The reason we’re still here today talking about Buster’s 42-1 upset fight with Mike Tyson is because it transcended sports,” said two-time Heisman Trophy winner Archie Griffin, a backer of the effort. He said the bout proved “nothing is impossible if you possess iron will and great determination.”
James “Buster” Douglas, a Columbus native, met Tyson, the reigning undisputed world heavyweight champion, in the ring in Tokyo on Feb. 11, 1990. Douglas prevailed in a stunning upset over a man feared for his prowess in the ring and considered the best boxer in the world at the time. He lost the title to Evander Holyfield that October.
“I went into the fight only to win,” Douglas said Wednesday, “never knowing it would come out to be something as spectacular as it has been over the years.”
The Tyson-Douglas contest gained new attention with the release of an ESPN documentary, also titled “42 to 1,” in December. ESPN plans to air the documentary and send some of its personalities to participate in a celebratory gala in February.
State Sen. Jay Hottinger, a Newark Republican, said a bill establishing a “James ‘Buster’ Douglas 42-to-1 Odds Day” is moving through the statehouse. It’s among several official actions that governments are taking to mark the anniversary.
Hottinger said they give long-overdue recognition to Douglas, as well as serving to inspire all Ohioans who face tough odds.
Among the effort’s goals is to raise enough money for the Brightway Center, a Steubenville-based nonprofit serving at-risk youth, to expand its operations to central Ohio. Officials said Wednesday they hope to serve an additional 400 students with life skills coaching and mentoring services.
Other partners include Franklin University and MCS-T.O.U.C.H., a program that helps formerly incarcerated men and women gain life skills and find jobs.

Ohio Headlines

2 more Ohio executions delayed amid lack of lethal drugs

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Gov. Mike DeWine has delayed two more executions, citing Ohio’s continuing struggles to find supplies of lethal injection drugs.
James Galen Hanna was scheduled to die Dec. 11 for the murder of his cellmate in 1997. DeWine, a Republican, on Wednesday moved his execution date to July 16.
Kareem Jackson was sentenced to death for two execution-style slayings in 1997. DeWine moved his execution date to Sept. 16.
DeWine cited Ohio’s difficulty finding pharmaceutical suppliers willing to provide drugs to the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction “without harming other Ohioans.”
The governor said in July that the state fears it could be cut off from drugs needed for medical purposes if their makers learn they’re also being used for executions.

Ohio Headlines

Air National Guard’s 178th Wing to get 1st female commander

SPRINGFIELD, Ohio (AP) — The 178th Wing of the Ohio Air National Guard is set to get its first female commander.
Col. Kimberly Fitzgerald is scheduled to assume duties as commander of the 178th Wing from Col. Gregg Hesterman during a ceremony Sunday at the Springfield Air National Guard Base.
Fitzgerald is currently vice commander of the 178th Wing. She has 26 years of service including a total of more than 4,000 flight hours as a KC-135 navigator, a KC-135 pilot, MQ-1 Predator pilot, and MQ-9 Reaper pilot. She transferred to the 178th Wing in 2011 and served as the 162nd Flying Squadron commander and Mission Support Group commander before taking on the role of vice commander.
Hesterman will serve as the director of staff for the Ohio National Guard.

Ohio Headlines

Mom charged in newborn’s death wants trial moved

CHARDON, Ohio (AP) — An Ohio woman who authorities say put her newborn baby boy in a garbage bag and left him in a wooded area in 1993 wants her upcoming trial moved to another county.
Gail Eastwood-Ritchey pleaded not guilty to aggravated murder charges in Geauga (jee-AW’-guh) County in June. The News-Herald in Willoughby reports the defense motion to move the 49-year-old Euclid woman’s trial cites widespread publicity over more than two decades as the reason.
County prosecutor James Faiz declined to comment.
Investigators say Eastwood-Ritchey stated she hid the pregnancy from everyone. They say she married the baby’s father and has three grown children.
Authorities say familial DNA from an online database was used to find Eastwood-Ritchey.
The Jan. 27 trial currently is scheduled for Geauga County Common Pleas Court in Chardon.
Information from: The News-Herald,

Ohio Headlines

Man accused of defrauding Cleveland Clinic receives 5 years

CLEVELAND (AP) — An Ohio man convicted of defrauding the Cleveland Clinic of $2.7 million has been sentenced to nearly five years in prison. reports 44-year-old Wisam Rizk, of Westlake, pleaded guilty last year to conspiracy, wire fraud and false statements. He was sentenced Wednesday.
Prosecutors said Rizk had a $5.6 million contract through a company spun off from Cleveland Clinic to provide a visual medical chart product conceived by Cleveland Clinic doctors. Rizk instead outsourced the work to an Indian company at a substantially lower price.
Rizk was accused of paying more than $460,000 to Gary Fingerhut, the executor director of Cleveland Clinic innovations, to buy his silence. Fingerhut was sentenced last December to 30 months in prison.
Rizk apologized in court. He faces deportation to Austria after completing his sentence.
Information from:,

West Virginia Sports

No. 12 Baylor saw turn with Brewer’s near-comeback vs. WVU

WACO, Texas (AP) — With No. 12 Baylor undefeated and alone atop the Big 12 less than two years after a 1-11 season, West Virginia’s return to Waco provides a reminder on when the Bears started turning the corner.
Just flashback to quarterback Charlie Brewer’s first significant action, in a game the Bears didn’t even win.
Baylor trailed the Mountaineers by 25 points when Brewer, then a true freshman, entered that 2017 game on the final play of the third quarter. He ran for 48 yards and threw for 109 yards with two touchdowns, including a 9-yarder to Trestan Ebner with 17 seconds left before getting sacked on a tying two-point conversion attempt.
“You could see it in that game. I think we kind of said that all along when he first got there that spring,” coach Matt Rhule said this week. “I just think we felt like hey, this guy’s a football player, you know, and we’ve got to get him in the game … He got in and finally it was this hey, this is his time, let’s let him go play.”
Brewer makes his 24th career start in his 29th game Thursday night when the Bears (7-0, 4-0 Big 12) put a nine-game winning streak on the line at home against West Virginia (3-4, 1-3).
Two weeks after that impressive comeback that came up just short against West Virginia, Brewer’s first start was in the only victory of Rhule’s first season.
Brewer has started all but one game since, and in that one last year against Oklahoma State led the Bears to consecutive touchdowns late for a 35-31 victory when he came in late after starting that week in concussion protocol. They have rallied late to win their last two games, including 21 points in the fourth quarter for a 45-27 win on the road against the Cowboys.
“The biggest thing about Charlie is always, he loves to play, he doesn’t let adverse conditions, adverse things affect him,” Rhule said.
West Virginia coach Neal Brown’s last two years as offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Texas Tech were 2011-12, when Brewer’s older brother, Michael, was there before the quarterback went to Virginia Tech. He remembers Charlie Brewer from recruiting his older brother.
“I’ve known him for a long time,” Brown said. “I’ve tracked him since he was young, going back to probably elementary school. One of my favorite families I’ve ever had the opportunity to recruit.”
While the Bears had an open date last Saturday, the other three Big 12 teams that were ranked all lost. Oklahoma’s loss at Kansas State left Baylor alone in first place. Rhule said he had a lot of players texting him about what happened last weekend. He said his message was simple when he asked them what they learned, such as special teams matter and that third downs are really important.
“You can’t play this game looking at the scoreboard,” he said. “You have got to just go play and I think those messages that we say all the time, they were just reinforced by the games that happened this weekend. And not just Big 12 games.”
Brown didn’t spend a lot of time looking at what Baylor does.
“It’s not that I don’t respect them. I do. I’m not spending any time whatsoever looking at other teams in the league,” Brown said. “Because for our football team, we’ve just got to get better.”
Every Baylor opponent has been forced to punt on its opening drive this season. The Bears have allowed only 134 points through their first seven games, the fewest in the first seven games since allowing only 97 in that span to start the 1995 season.
When Baylor played at West Virginia on a Thursday night last season, the Mountaineers scored less than a minute into the game. They had 434 yards by halftime, when they led 41-0 on way to a 58-14 victory. But West Virginia no longer has quarterback Will Grier or receiver David Sills V.
West Virginia is averaging 22.7 points a game, which is on pace to be its worst since 2001. … Baylor is only the third FBS team since 1937 to start 7-0 within two seasons after being 0-7. UCF was the last in 2017, and Minnesota in 1960. … Bears DE James Lynch is the Big 12 leader with 8½ sacks, getting 5½ of those in the past three games. Lynch has 17 career sacks, and one more gives him the school record.
AP Sports Writer John Raby contributed to this report.
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West Virginia Headlines

West Virginia reading, math scores below national average

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — West Virginia fourth-grade students showed drops in math and reading scores on the latest Nation’s Report Card and remained below the national average.
Results released Wednesday on the National Assessment of Educational Progress show fourth-graders in the state scored nine points below the national average math score and six points below the national average score in reading.
The report says about 30% of fourth graders are proficient both in reading and in math, while about one-fourth of eighth graders are proficient in those subjects.
In eighth grade, the average math score in West Virginia was down a point from 2017 and nine points below the national average.
The average eighth-grade reading score fell 3 points, leaving it six points below the national average.

West Virginia Headlines

Trial set for W.Va. senator charged with prostitution

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — A West Virginia senator charged with soliciting a prostitute is going to trial.
A Marshall County court clerk says a judge on Wednesday set a Dec. 13 jury trial date for Sen. Mike Maroney.
The Republican lawmaker has pleaded not guilty. He turned himself in in August and was released on a $4,500 bond.
A criminal complaint says Maroney exchanged text messages to discuss prices and set up meetings with a woman who has admitted to being a prostitute. He also sent her a picture of himself so she would agree to meet him.
His attorney did not immediately return a message left at his office.
The 51-year-old Maroney is the chairman of the state Senate Health and Human Resources Committee.