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Secrets, lifestyle took toll on Roy Simmons

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Roy Simmons visited such quiet, dark, lonely depths that you had to wonder if he ever saw blue sky. Only pages into the book he wrote in 2006 — “Out of Bounds: Coming out of Sexual Abuse, Addiction and My Life of Lies in the NFL Closet” — he took the reader to the edge of the Golden Gate Bridge. There, thoughts of suicide nearly carried him over the rail.

Simultaneously, Simmons’ story contains such testimonials to his gregariousness — teammates at Georgia Tech in the mid-1970s called the good-natured offensive lineman Sugar Bear — that he appears an impossible contradiction.

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Reed making rest of golf believe, too

There were no significant shake-ups Tuesday in the Patrick Reed World Ranking, where Patrick Reed once again stood out as the player to watch.

Reed didn’t take it back, not one word, nine days after he won at Doral and had the audacity to declare himself among the top five golfers on the planet.

He did not retreat to a position of safety, back to some publicist’s Teflon-sided bunker.

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Braves’ Fredi Gonzalez at ease in the arena

If Georgia governor Nathan Deal or Atlanta mayor Kasim Reed should ever again require safe harbor from the angry, icebound masses, they always can swing by the Braves manager’s office.

Those walls are double-insulated against the mews of the critics. Within, the second guess is as unwelcome as a Bryce Harper bobblehead.

It took Fredi Gonzalez 13 hours to get to his Marietta home from a team function at the onset of Snow Jam I. On his 50th birthday, no less.

»  More on the Braves | The move to Cobb

A Brand of constancy for the Hawks

The Hawks had just played on consecutive nights. A five-game, eight-day West Coast trip loomed. So Thursday, given a reprieve from practice, they rested. Only Elton Brand wasn’t at rest.

That evening, in a suffocatingly hot room, where even the windows of Red Hot Yoga’s storefront dripped with sweat, the Hawks’ nearly 35-year-old high-mileage, undersized center worked on his downward dog and his open-hearted warrior.

Woerner focuses on kids' futures, not his past

Others may live in the dusty attic where old glories are kept, but Scott Woerner hardly has the chance.

Not so long as there are fifth graders to herd, and he is only one shepherd.

“Don’t cut across the grass! ... You two, let’s go, you’re sandbagging on me! ... Good job, good job! You can get one more!”

The timeless bellow of the phys-ed teacher cut through the misty mountain morning at Rabun County Elementary.


Gators set sights on SEC tournament, and beyond

There is an inherent risk one runs when handing a Southerner a ball that’s not pointed at either end. Such was the scene this week at the Georgia Dome, where only a single team arrives at the SEC men’s basketball tournament ranked among the nation’s Top 25.

Thus, that lordly conference enters the postseason on equal footing with the likes of the Missouri Valley, Mountain West and Atlantic 10.

Rice, Cremins among Hall of Fame inductees

Nearly 34 years ago Homer Rice took a $60,000 pay cut for the privilege of moving to Atlanta to oversee a college athletic program gone to seed.

That Georgia Tech experienced a muscle-bound renaissance during his extended stay on The Flats is a matter of record: a football national title in the 1990 season; a Final Four visit earlier that year, five Sweet 16 appearances; No. 1 rankings in other sports such as baseball and golf; the launching of a competitive women’s program; three track and field Olympic medalists.

That Rice, nearly 87 and still living in Atlanta, is just now being inducted into the Georgia Sports Hall of Fame is something of a curiosity.

Racing might as well embrace team concept

So, who do you like this Sprint Cup season?

The fightin’ Hendrick Motorsports Manifold Destinies always are loaded.

Look out for a strong comeback from the Stewart Haas Graveyard Shifters this year; they seem primed for a big run if they can keep Tony Stewart in one piece.

Wouldn’t it be a refreshing jolt of nostalgia if Richard Petty Motorsports — they’d be called simply the Kings, of course — could just become a factor?


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