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Former 49ers player Dana Stubblefield found guilty of rape

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Former San Francisco 49ers player Dana Stubblefield was found guilty of rape by a Santa Clara County jury on Monday following a nine-month trial, and five years after the woman reported the 2015 sexual assault to police.

He could face 15 years to life in prison.

Prosecutors said Stubblefield lured the then-31-year-old woman, who has developmental disabilities, to his home in Morgan Hill, California, on April 9, 2015, under the pretense of a babysitting job.

The jury found Stubblefield, 49, guilty of rape by force, oral copulation by force and false imprisonment, and acquitted him of raping a person incapable of giving consent, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.

Jurors also found that Stubblefield used a gun during the assault, prosecutors said.

Prosecutors said Stubblefield initially contacted the woman on a babysitting website and arranged an interview at his home in Morgan Hill, south of San Jose. Investigators said the interview lasted about 20 minutes, but the woman later returned to the house when she received a text from Stubblefield saying he wanted to pay her for her time that day.

After raping her, investigators said, Stubblefield gave her $80 and let her go. The woman immediately went to the Morgan Hill Police Department and reported the rape, prosecutors said. She also gave the money to officers.

DNA evidence matched that of Stubblefield.

“This was a triumph of resilience,” Santa Clara County District Attorney Jeff Rosen said in a statement. “The victim has struggled her whole life with learning disabilities and challenges to be self-sufficient. If we are not fighting for her, then who are we fighting for?”

Defense attorneys argued that there was no rape and that the woman consented to sex.

Allen Sawyer, one of Stubblefield’s trial attorneys, described the incident as a “paid encounter for sex.” He said the defense team was precluded from showing the jury strong evidence that would have supported the contention.

“There’s a lot of information that we have, that the jury was not allowed to have, that we think would have been impactful to their decision,” Sawyer told the Chronicle on Monday after the verdict was read.

Sawyer said defense attorneys will seek a new trial.

“We expect to keep fighting for Mr. Stubblefield’s innocence,” Sawyer said. “We will clear his name, and we look forward to fighting this out in the courts. This is just the first battle.”

Stubblefield was remanded to jail without bail, pending sentencing.

Stubblefield was the 49ers’ first-round pick in 1993 after a standout career at the University of Kansas. The three-time Pro Bowler also played for Washington and Oakland before retiring after the New England Patriots released him before the start of the 2004 season.

Stubblefield pleaded guilty in 2009 to lying to federal officials investigating a performance-enhancing drugs ring catering to professional athletes. He was sentenced to probation after cooperating with investigators. He was sentenced to 90 days in jail after pleading guilty to stealing his former girlfriend’s mail by submitting a fraudulent change of address for her to the U.S. Post Office.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Carroll Hardy, who hit for Ted Williams and built Broncos’ ‘Orange Crush’ dies at 87

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HIGHLANDS RANCH, Colo. — Carroll Hardy, a multi-sport star best known as the only man ever to pinch hit for Ted Williams, died Sunday at age 87.

Hardy was also known as the football executive who helped assemble the “Orange Crush” defense in Denver during the 1970s.

The University of Colorado, where Hardy was a three-sport star, said he died of complications from dementia. He is survived by his wife and three children.

Hardy went on to play professional baseball and football after starring in track, baseball and football at Colorado from 1951-55.

CU athletic director Rick George called Hardy “a true icon of the state. His list of accomplishments in his lifetime and the people he touched are really second to none. We have lost a great Buffalo.”

Hardy earned a record 10 letters altogether in the early 1950s. An All-American honorable mention in 1953 and ’54, Hardy rushed for 1,999 career yards with a whopping 6.87-yard average per carry, which remains the best in school history among players with at least 60 carries.

Hardy led the nation in kickoff return average in 1952 and had six interceptions for the Buffaloes.

On the diamond, Hardy was CU’s all-time career batting average leader (.392) with 118 hits in 301 at-bats with 15 homers, 80 RBI, 107 runs scored and 45 stolen bases.

He once ran a 9.8 in the 100-yard dash on the indoor track.

Hardy was the 33rd overall pick in the 1955 NFL draft by the San Francisco 49ers. and averaged 28.2 yards a catch as a rookie with 12 receptions for 338 yards and four touchdowns.

Before reporting to the 49ers camp, Hardy signed with the Cleveland Indians and played on their A-league team in Reading, Pennsylvania. In 1956, he was hitting .365 in 21 games with the Indians’ Triple-A team in Indianapolis when he was ordered to report to the U.S. Army.

He returned to the Indians after his two-year tour of military duty and his major league career spanned a decade from 1958-67 with stops in Cleveland, Boston, Houston and Minnesota.

Hardy was the only man ever to pinch hit for Red Sox icons Williams and Carl Yastrzemski.

“I’d like to have people remember me for hitting 400 home runs and a lifetime batting average of .305, but I didn’t do that,” Hardy once told the Denver Post. “But it’s not bad being remembered as the only man to ever pinch-hit for Ted Williams.”

Hardy’s first major league homer was a three-run shot in the bottom of the 11th to beat the White Sox when he was sent to the plate in place of Roger Maris in 1958 when both were with the Indians.

Boston traded Hardy to the expansion Colt 45’s in 1963 and he later joined the Twins, who sent him to their affiliate in Denver.

During his two-plus seasons with the Denver Bears, he began scouting part-time for the Denver Broncos in the offseason.

That led to a 24-year stint with the Broncos in various roles including assistant ticket manager, director of scouting, pro personnel director and assistant general manager.

He finished his major league career with a September call-up with the Twins in 1967, then turned his attention full-time to football.

Hardy was credited with helping to build Denver’s “Orange Crush” defense that led to the Broncos’ first Super Bowl appearance in 1977. That dominant defense included Randy Gradishar, Tom Jackson, Louis Wright, Lyle Alzado, Otis Armstrong and Barney Chavous.

Hardy also helped assemble the Broncos’ 1986 and ’87 Super Bowl teams before his retirement.

Hardy was born in 1933 in Sturgis, South Dakota. He is survived by his wife of nearly 64 years, Janice Mitchell, son Jay and daughters Jill and Lisa.

With the coronavirus pandemic, funeral services will be for family only, but a celebration of his life will be held at a later date.

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Philadelphia Eagles linebacker Jatavis Brown retires at 26

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PHILADELPHIA — Philadelphia Eagles linebacker Jatavis Brown, a 26-year-old free-agent pickup this offseason, has surprisingly retired from the game.

The Eagles placed Brown on the reserve/retired list Sunday. The word internally was he simply felt it was time for him to step away.

Brown signed a one-year deal with Philadelphia in March that would pay him a base salary of $910,000 and included $550,000 in guarantees. He was in the mix to compete for a starting spot and was at a minimum expected to be a special-teams contributor.

The Eagles already had the least amount of salary-cap dollars committed to the linebacker position for 2020 ($5.9 million), according to Spotrac. The Eagles get about $900,000 in cap relief as a result of Brown retiring.

The remaining linebackers are T.J. Edwards, Nate Gerry, Davion Taylor, Duke Riley, Alex Singleton, Shaun Bradley and Dante Olson, one of the most unheralded groups in the NFL.

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Lions trade CB Michael Jackson to Patriots for 2022 draft pick

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The Detroit Lions traded cornerback Michael Jackson to the New England Patriots for an undisclosed 2022 draft pick on Sunday, hours after announcing plans to release the veteran.

Jackson played in one game for Detroit last season, a 19-16 loss at Washington, where he played two special teams snaps. Detroit had claimed him off waivers in September, 2019, after he was cut by Dallas. Trading Jackson clears up part of one of the deepest positions the Lions have on the roster with a handful of cornerbacks still competing for backup jobs behind likely starters Desmond Trufant, Jeff Okudah and Justin Coleman.

This is the sixth trade, not including in-draft moves, between the Lions and Patriots since Bob Quinn took over as general manager in January, 2016.

The Patriots have multiple openings on their roster after an NFL-high eight players opted out of the 2020 season. Jackson provides depth at cornerback, which is one of the deepest positions on the team’s roster, with reigning NFL Defensive Player of the Year Stephon Gilmore, followed by Jason McCourty, Jonathan Jones, J.C. Jackson, Joejuan Williams, D’Angelo Ross and Myles Bryant.

The Patriots could have waited and put in a waiver claim for Jackson, but since they are lower in the NFL’s priority order, they wouldn’t have been guaranteed they’d get him. So similar to how they traded for McCourty in 2018, when the Cleveland Browns had declared their intentions to release McCourty, the Patriots swooped in at the last moment with a trade.

The Lions also waived wide receivers Travis Fulgham and Chris Lacy, linebacker Christian Sam, defensive end Jonathan Wynn and guard Josh Garnett, a former San Francisco 49ers first-round pick on Sunday.

ESPN’s Mike Reiss contributed to this report.

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