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CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Former Carolina Panthers wide receiver Rae Carruth, who has spent the past 17 years in a North Carolina prison for conspiracy to murder his pregnant girlfriend, opened up for the first time in a handwritten letter to the victim’s mother.

Carruth wrote a 15-page letter to Saundra Adams, the mother of Cherica Adams, that was sent to Charlotte television station WBTV. He also spoke at length by phone with the station about the letter, accepting responsibility for the 1999 conspiracy to murder Cherica Adams and expressing interest in gaining custody of their son.

“I’m apologizing for the loss of her daughter. I’m apologizing for the impairment of my son,” Carruth told WBTV. “I feel responsible for everything that happened. And I just want her to know that truly I am sorry for everything.”

Carruth is scheduled to be released from Sampson Correctional Institution in Clinton, North Carolina, on Oct. 22. He was sentenced to 18 to 24 years in 2001 after being found guilty of hiring Van Brett Watkins and Michael Kennedy to murder Adams. Watkins, who shot Adams multiple times, was sentenced to a minimum of 40 years. Kennedy, who drove the car, was released in 2011.

Adams died a month after the shooting. Her son, Chancellor Lee Adams, was born prematurely and has battled the challenges that come from cerebral palsy, which was the result of his traumatic birth after the shooting.

Saundra Adams has raised Chancellor, now 18. In past interviews with the Charlotte Observer, she has expressed that she would like to be present the day Carruth is released.

Carruth, who did not testify at his trial, said he wants custody of Chancellor when he is released.

“I should be raising my son. His mother should be raising her son,” Carruth said. “Ms. Adams should not be doing this and I want that responsibility back.

“I feel like he might not ever have his mother in his life but he could still have me and I could still make a difference and I don’t think that’s anyone’s responsibility when I’m still here.”

Saundra Adams told the Observer on Monday that she would not relinquish custody of Chancellor to Carruth.

“I’ve forgiven Rae already, but to have any type of relationship with him, there does have to be some repentance,” Adams told the newspaper. “And I think this opens the door. But I can say definitively he’s not ever going to have custody of Chancellor.

“Chancellor will be raised either by me or, after I’m gone, by someone else who loves him and who knows him. He will never be raised by a stranger — someone he doesn’t know and who tried to kill him.”

In the letter, Carruth wrote that he has “long accepted my lot as a social pariah.” He said in an introduction to the letter, which he began with “To whom it may concern,” that the purpose of the letter was to challenge allegations made by Saundra Adams on the “truthfulness of the statements she’s made about me.”

Carruth referred to several “lies” he claimed Adams made, beginning with saying he never apologized for what happened. He noted that he apologized on several occasions in correspondence from prison.

Carruth also accused Adams of creating a false impression of his relationship with her daughter. He said outside of a physical relationship, “me and your daughter were practically strangers.”

Carruth also challenged that his motive for having Cherica Adams killed was to avoid having to pay child support, noting child support never was mentioned as motive during the trial. He said the motive was more to do with Cherica being unwilling to get an abortion.

In the letter, Carruth said he wishes he could go back to 1999 and do things differently.

“If I could change anything, I’d change the whole situation,” he wrote. “His mother would still be here and I wouldn’t be where I’m at. So that’s what I’d want to change. I want the incident to never have happened at all.”

Carruth, 44, told WBTV that he has changed a lot since the Panthers selected him in the first round of the 1997 draft out of Colorado. He noted back then he was very “self-centered” and immature.

He talked about finding a relationship with God.

“I feel like I owe Chancellor,” Carruth said. “I let him down as he came into this world and the only way that I can make that right, the only way I can work out my relationship with my son, is to be there for him and to be a father and a dad to him going forward.”

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Seattle Seahawks coach Pete Carroll hopeful Jamal Adams’ extension gets done ‘very soon’

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RENTON, Wash. – A Jamal Adams extension has been more a matter of when instead of if for the Seattle Seahawks and their Pro Bowl strong safety. That time could be soon.

“The conversations have been ongoing for some time and been very amicable,” Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said Wednesday. “He’s in a good place. They’ve worked really hard to this point. I’m very hopeful that it’s going to get taken care of here soon, very soon.”

Adams reported for training camp Tuesday along with the rest of the team, as expected. He didn’t take part Wednesday in the team’s first practice but appeared engaged while watching from the sideline, high-fiving some teammates and instructing others while wearing his jersey and a Seahawks baseball cap.

Asked if Adams not practicing was contract-related, Carroll gave an indirect answer noting that he’s recovering from offseason surgeries on his shoulder and fingers.

“He wouldn’t be working yet,” Carroll said. “So it’s OK at this time right now. He’s out there for the walk-throughs and he’s in the meetings and all that kind of stuff.”

Another Seahawk who’s seeking a new deal, left tackle Duane Brown, was also a spectator during Wednesday’s practice. Carroll said it’s not an injury issue and described Brown not practicing as a maintenance matter, as he did when Brown attended minicamp but didn’t practice.

Carroll declined to discuss whether the Seahawks and Brown are in negotiations on an extension.

“He did the whole walk-through today,” Carroll said of Brown, who turns 36 next month. “Starting up camp. Got a long haul. He looked great. He’s in great shape. Hopefully we’ll get a ton of work over the course of time but right now we’ve got extra guys at left tackle, that helps us a little bit with rotations, so he didn’t work today.”

Jamarco Jones filled in for Brown with the No. 1 offense Wednesday. Kyle Fuller was at center as Ethan Pocic didn’t practice because of what Carroll described as a nagging hamstring injury, though he was not placed on the physically unable to perform list.

The Seahawks put rookie wide receiver D’Wayne Eskridge and running back Travis Homer (calf) on PUP to begin camp. Eskridge, chosen in the second round with Seattle’s first of three draft picks, was sidelined earlier in the offseason with an injured big toe.

“We’re going to hold a really good thought that we can get him back out here in a week or two,” Carroll said Wednesday.

Defensive end Aldon Smith practiced Wednesday for the first time since signing a one-year deal with Seattle in April. The Seahawks excused him from minicamp because Smith didn’t feel like he was ready physically.

He’s scheduled to be arraigned Aug. 24 on a battery charge in Louisiana.

“He’s worked really hard here throughout the summer,” Carroll said. “I didn’t think it was time for him back in the springtime just because we didn’t know the body of work coming in, but he’s in really good shape now, he’s worked really hard to get here and excited to see what he looks like.”

Carroll said 90 of the 91 players on Seattle’s roster have received at least one shot of the COVID-19 vaccination. The lone holdout, whom Carroll did not identify, has “real personal reasons” for not getting the vaccine.

“Our guys made an extraordinary effort to take care of one another,” Carroll said. “The statement they made, particularly the guys who were uncertain about what to do, they made a decision based on their team as well as themselves and they wanted to do what was best for everybody and what would be safest for everyone. It’s a marvelous statement that our guys made.”

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New York Jets’ contract dispute with Zach Wilson a bad look, makes no sense – New York Jets Blog

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FLORHAM PARK, N.J. — After a promising offseason that reenergized their fan base, the New York Jets reminded everyone Wednesday not everything has changed for the better.

Rookie quarterback Zach Wilson, the new face of the franchise as the Jets’ No. 2 overall draft pick this year, was nowhere to be found on the first day of training camp. The first-team offense was commanded by Mike White, a former practice squad player who has yet to take a snap in an NFL game.

If it had been an open practice, the fans would have booed the Jets, justifiably so.

Thirty-one of the 32 first-round draft picks are under contract. The only one that isn’t … well, you know the answer. It was an embarrassing day for the Jets, who committed an open-field fumble.

The amount of Wilson’s rookie deal is slotted based on his draft position, No. 2. All New York has to do is fill in a few blanks on the contract and cross some Ts.

The Jets and Wilson’s agents are squabbling over contract language — not money, mind you. Language. The primary sticking point is the offset clause, which provides the team with financial protection in the unlikely event it cuts Wilson before his four-year, $35.2 million contract (fully guaranteed) is complete.

Let’s make one thing clear: A negotiation over an offset isn’t unique to the Jets. Every team deals with it. In fact, 30 of 32 teams (the Los Angeles Rams and Jacksonville Jaguars ) typically include offsets in contracts that have guaranteed money, the Jets among them.

So why are the Jets the only team that hasn’t struck a deal with its first-round draft pick?

Another issue is the payment schedule of the $22 million signing bonus on Wilson’s deal. That, too, came up in the 2018 negotiation with quarterback Sam Darnold, and the Jets wound up paying the entire bonus within 15 days of Darnold signing. It’s unclear why the Jets are trying to defer some of the money with Wilson. This isn’t rocket science; it’s a basic contract negotiation.

Exacerbating the problem, the Jets declined to add a veteran quarterback in the offseason, putting all their eggs in the Wilson basket. That was a bad decision on multiple levels. No disrespect to White and James Morgan, a 2020 fourth-round pick who has no pro experience, but the Jets left themselves with no fallback options.

They dealt with a similar situation when Darnold missed three practices because of a contract dispute. In that case, they had veterans Josh McCown and Teddy Bridgewater on the roster, reducing the sense of urgency.

Not this time.

They need Wilson in camp ASAP. Every rep matters. The Jets have 20 practices and three preseason games to get him ready for Sept. 12 against the Carolina Panthers. Every missed day hurts him. Every missed day hurts the receiving corps. On Wednesday, it was a dink-and-dunk fest, with White and Morgan throwing almost everything under 10 yards.

This is no way to build chemistry in a new offensive scheme.

The Jets haven’t reached a crisis point, yet. Wilson could show up Thursday or Friday and this mess will be forgotten by next week. But for now, it’s a bad optic. Coach Robert Saleh was asked when he “needs” Wilson in camp. He smiled and said, “Ask me again tomorrow.”

Saleh did his best to put on a brave face, saying kind things about White and Morgan, but you can bet he is anxious to get his QB1 into camp. Publicly, he has to tow the company line, but no one is believing his happy talk.

That exciting offseason? It loses some luster each day of the contract dispute.

On Saturday, the fans show up to watch training camp for the first time since 2019. If Wilson isn’t on the field, the fans will bring a Bronx cheer to New Jersey.



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Washington Football Team monitoring Cleveland Guardians’ process on name change

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RICHMOND, Va. — If the Cleveland Indians endure any issues with their name change, there’s one team that could benefit: the Washington Football Team.

Washington’s president, Jason Wright, said he will monitor any roadblocks Cleveland encounters with its new name, the Guardians, in the hopes of learning lessons and what to avoid in the future.

Wright said once again that Washington will unveil a new name “in early ’22.” But even though the team announced its intention to adopt another name before Cleveland did, Washington could benefit by the fact the baseball franchise announced its new name first. Cleveland unveiled the Guardians on Friday.

“One of the things I’m continuing to watch is … what happens from here on out? What are the legal and trademark things that pop up?” Wright told ESPN. “How do they navigate those going forward? Just the little boogeymen of implementation that might pop up is interesting to me.”

Indeed, Cleveland also has a roller derby team called the Guardians, which could present legal challenges. The roller derby team has played in Cleveland since 2016 and owns the domain clevelandguardians.com. It’s likely the sides would come to a financial agreement in order for the baseball franchise to buy that domain, as well as other social media handles. Regardless, it provides a blueprint for Washington.

“It will never be perfect,” Wright said. “But I do want it to be as seamless as possible and of the quality it deserves so these little things, these gremlins that can pop up in the implementation process, is of great importance to me. Once we roll this out it needs to be something, irrespective of the initial reaction of the fans, that we don’t do anything to self-inflict making that process more challenging.”

Wright said he has long been in contact with Cleveland officials as they travel a similar path.

“I know they feel good about being on the other side of it,” Wright said. “They are confident, much like I’m confident, that the ties of the fan base are deeply loyal, that people want to believe the best about the franchise and the real work tends to happen on the back end of the announcement. How does the new name get integrated into the experience? How do you win consistently under that new moniker for it to take root? I paid attention.”

That’s why Wright wasn’t bothered by the fact that Cleveland settled on a new name before Washington. Wright was hired by the franchise 11 months ago and needed to not only help find a new name, but also put together a new business structure, which meant hiring new people with no ties to the organization. Cleveland’s situation was more stable.

“In an ideal world you do a lot of work before you announce the name change,” Wright said. “You do a lot of the important legwork and research well in advance of an announcement. That’s the ideal way to do it. We picked up something different and that’s fine. We believe really strongly that the process laid out is the right one.”

Like Cleveland, Washington must deal with an emotional fan base tied to a previous name that had been around for generations.

“Stewarding that is a heavy weight and a heavy weight takes some lifting to be carried properly,” Wright said. “To be able to be buttoned up in early 2022 and release a name fully fleshed out with new merchandise and swag and logos and mantras and aspects of the new fan experience and rituals ready to go, that’s the right time for us to do it.”

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