MINNEAPOLIS -- Blair Walshs five seasons in Minnesota were filled with big-time makes and big-time misses.With the skidding Vikings desperate to save their season, they simply couldnt wait for Walsh to pull himself out of another rut. Minnesota cut Walsh on Tuesday, two days after he missed his league-leading fourth extra point in a 26-20 loss to Washington.Walsh was 12 of 16 on field goals and 15 of 19 on extra points in nine games this season. For a team that started 5-0 but has gone 0-4 since and is constructed to play close games, Walshs inconsistency could no longer be tolerated.After he missed an extra point, had a field goal blocked and misplaced a kickoff in a loss to Detroit two weeks ago, the Vikings brought in six kickers for a tryout. They ultimately decided to give Walsh one more chance, but his miss just before halftime against the Redskins sealed his fate. Walsh was in the first year of a four-year, $13 million extension he signed last season , undoubtedly one reason why the Vikings stayed as patient as they could with him.The Vikings reached agreement on a contract with Kai Forbath to take Walshs place, two people with knowledge of the situation told The Associated Press. The people spoke on condition of anonymity because an official announcement has not been made. USA Today first reported the move to Forbath, who made 34 of 35 extra points and 10 of 15 field goals last season while kicking for Washington and New Orleans.With Forbath, punter/holder Jeff Locke and long snapper Kevin McDermott, all three of Minnesotas specialists will be UCLA products. The 29-year-old Forbath is 69 for 82 for 84.1 percent in his NFL career on field goals and 124 for 127 for 97.6 percent on extra points.Walsh was an erratic kicker at Georgia when Vikings special teams coordinator Mike Priefer started to scout him. The coach said Walsh had the best performance at the combine he had ever seen from a kicker leading up to the draft in 2012, and the Vikings selected him in the sixth round before releasing reliable veteran Ryan Longwell. After working on some tweaks to his approach with Priefer, Walsh set a Vikings rookie record with 141 points and established an all-time NFL mark by going 10 for 10 from 50 yards or longer.Walsh bounced back to make an NFL-high 34 field goals last season, but he missed four extra points and shanked a 27-yard field goal in the closing seconds of Minnesotas 10-9 loss in the playoffs to Seattle. Despite Walshs public expressions of confidence in his ability since then, even after his rough game against the Lions, he clearly hasnt recovered yet mentally from the crushing miss against the Seahawks that left him sobbing in front of his cubicle in the locker room afterward.One of the few roles in sports without any gray area between success and failure, where sending the ball through the uprights is the only responsibility and the only outcome worth judging, being a kicker in the NFL can be a pressure cooker. At least in his interaction with reporters, Walsh has been more guarded and on edge than any other season with the Vikings.For the Vikings, the setbacks to a season that began with Super Bowl aspirations havent stopped. Neither have their aggressive attempts to stay on track, even if the move away from Walsh mightve come a little late. Walsh will still count more than $1 million against the teams salary cap in each of the next two years.They parted with two high draft picks, including their first-rounder in 2017, to bring in Sam Bradford after quarterback Teddy Bridgewater was lost to a massive injury. They took a flier on injury-waylaid former No. 1 overall draft pick Jake Long, who lasted four games before tearing an Achilles tendon and needing season-ending surgery. Offensive coordinator Norv Turner resigned two weeks ago amid philosophical differences about the scheme with Zimmer, even expressing belief in subsequent interviews that his removal from the strategical process could help the team get going.---For more NFL coverage: http://www.pro32.ap.org and http://www.twitter.com/AP-NFL---AP Pro Football Writer Dave Campbell contributed to this report.Custom Football Jerseys 2020 . -- Los Angeles Lakers guard Jordan Farmar will be out for roughly four weeks after tearing his left hamstring. 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PAUL, Minn.In July and August, espnWs weekly essay series will focus on body image.The newspaper article quoted my coach as saying, She wrestles just as well as the guys. I was one of four girls on my high schools wrestling team.There werent enough of us to form a separate team, so we regularly trained with and competed against guys. About my male teammates, coach said, Our guys treat em just like everyone else.I remember things being more complicated.Two reporters from the local paper contacted me in the winter of 1997. They wanted to do a story on my life as a wrestler.I was 14 at the time and had been figure skating for almost 10 years. Figure skating was a nerve-wracking sport that I hoped would take me to the Olympics. To keep my conditioning up and ease my self-imposed pressure, I joined different teams. I got introduced to wrestling in physical education class.We were allowed to spar, and to my amazement, I defeated the other girls in my class. These wins didnt go to my head, though. Wrestling -- the sport, the matches, the moves -- was not popular among my female classmates.I assumed I won because they were either unfamiliar with that kind of contact, they were less strong or ambivalent. Figure skating required strength, but the type that came from pointed toes, extended legs and aerodynamic arm movements.Wrestling was tumbling, working your way out of someones grasp and then knocking them down. I wanted more.When I mentioned this to my best friend, she egged me on. She already wanted to join the freshman wrestling team, but she didnt want to do it alone. Out of solidarity and curiosity, I agreed.What ensued were two of the most mentally and physically daunting years of my life. Preparing to be tackled was so anxiety-inducing that my best friend and I would occasionally slap each other in the face to get over it.I was no stranger to the pain of conditioning, but the constant sprawling, then standing up, sprinting in place -- just to get ready to battle each other -- was something else. Sometimes I closed my eyes before lunging at someone. I was doing moves I had never done anywhere else, like the cross-face cradle and the single-leg takedown.There were a few guys who helped me with strategy and technique. They also shared that several teammates didnt think girls should wrestle guys. The rest seemed to believe we had the right to be on the team, they just werent comfortable with fighting -- or losing to -- a girl.This was evident at matches. We were supposed to sit together as a team, but the guys would end up keeping a little distance from the girls.There was also the winter ski trip. Traditionally, the guys would go to a ski lodge over winter breakk.dddddddddddd The girls were never invited, nor did we ask to be included. It was taxing enough to be on a team where I didnt feel totally welcome; fighting for a spot on the ski trip felt like even more of an intrusion.Friends sometimes joked that coed wrestling would end up being sexual. My father worried it would create a green light for guys to be rough with girls off the mat. My mother supported my decision to compete but feared I would get hurt.Unbeknownst to me at the time, other parents and coaches expressed their concern for our safety too. Some hoped we would quit. This was the first time in my coachs 43-year career that girls had come out to wrestle for him, so he consulted other coaches around the city and state for guidance.I was just trying to survive and maybe even win. Strength-wise, I was no match for most of my male competitors, but my endurance and flexibility helped me wear them out and avoid getting pinned.My first win against a guy happened that first year on the team. Once I got him on the ground, I was able to pin his shoulders to the mat by splitting his legs apart. I pulled one near his face with my arms, and held the other down by wrapping my legs around his ankles. This is a cross-face cradle, the only pinning maneuver I really knew how to do.When the match was over, my coach said I received a standing ovation. I only remember my slim, 103-pound opponent shaking my hand and then hanging his head when he returned to his team. When I competed against and defeated other girls, all my teammates cheered.Despite these celebrations, girls wrestling never grew to be popular at my high school.In 1997, the reporters at the local paper didnt have this information. They pursued the story by photographing my training sessions and interviewing me, my coaches and my father.The heart of the story focused on my relationship with my dad and how he was not thrilled about my decision to wrestle. He cringed, but he never stopped me. In fact, he said, I guess itd be nice if this is the worst problem I ever have with her.Today, I would focus more on the fact that my mother supported my participation on the team, the norms and boundaries that coed wrestling upsets and the marginalization I never addressed with my team. It ultimately led me to quit after my sophomore year. The sport was too hard to do without having more love and acceptance from my teammates.Eryn Ashleigh Mathewson is a print and radio journalist. Her work has appeared in Womens eNews, Cremé Magazine and on 94.1FM KPFA Pacifica Radio in Berkeley. ' ' '
jj009, 14.08.2019 07:01