|rival for nearly a decade, and told him, Its
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NEW YORK -- Three words raced through Seattle Seahawks linebacker Malcolm Smiths mind as he streaked toward the end zone in the Super Bowl, returning his interception of a pass by Peyton Manning: "Dont get caught." That, Smith explained Monday at a news conference, would be the "typical thoughts a defensive player (would have) with the ball." And he heeded his own advice, going 69 yards for a touchdown on that play. He added a fumble recovery later and earned MVP honours as Seattle beat Mannings Denver Broncos 43-8 for the Seahawks first NFL championship. At no moment during Sundays action did Smith think he would take home the award. His teammates did. "Even during the game," Smith recalled, "guys were like, You might be MVP. And I was like, No way. No way. Not me. But to be here, its just pretty cool." Smith is not one of those players who long ago seemed destined to wind up getting the keys to a new vehicle the day after the Super Bowl, a sponsors prize for the big games best player. Coming out of college at Southern California -- where he was coached by the Seahawks current boss, Pete Carroll -- Smith wasnt invited to the NFL combine, where top prospects are measured and evaluated. Then, when the 2011 draft rolled around, he wasnt taken until the seventh round, the 242nd player chosen. Seems to fit right in with the Seahawks, more than a third of whom werent even drafted at all. "He didnt like it, but he had to go in the seventh round. Hes proven otherwise, just like a lot of other guys in our program," Carroll said. "I think it was extraordinary last night to see Jermaine Kearse score a touchdown, and Doug Baldwin score a touchdown, and Malcolm gets in the end zone and scoops up another fumble," he continued. "Guys that are not the heralded guys coming in competed in our program and found a way to contribute in enormous ways." By way of explaining in a euphoric locker room Sunday night why he was an appropriate choice for an MVP from these Seahawks, Smith said: "Im just fortunate to be a part of it, fortunate to get opportunities. Im happy to be amongst a bunch of guys that play with attitudes and chips on their shoulders. Im happy to represent that." He went on: "You might have been overlooked. You might feel like you can make plays and never got the opportunity." Truth is, the Seahawks were the lucky ones. Because even though Smith was not supposed to be a starter this season, a player with zero interceptions in his first two years in the league, he always was ready when called upon. Pegged mainly as a special teams guy, Smith earned notice with his speed and ability to handle both outside linebacker slots. When Bruce Irvin was suspended for four games in May for violating the leagues policy on performance-enhancing substances, it was Smith who filled in as a starter. When Bobby Wagner was sidelined, and K.J. Wright slid over to middle linebacker, Smith got another opportunity to start. And when Wright broke his right foot late in the season, guess who Seattle called upon: Yep, Smith, of course. Then suddenly, on Sunday, there he was at the Super Bowl, in the right place and right time, as usual. It was Smith who wound up with the victory-sealing interception at the end of Seattles NFC championship game victory two weeks ago, grabbing the football after Richard Sherman deflected a pass in the end zone. And then, in the biggest game of all, Smiths pick-6 off a fluttering ball -- after teammate Cliff Avril made contact with Manning during the throw -- made it 22-0 late in the first half Sunday, and Seattle was on its way. "I was like, Again!? No way. I didnt believe it," Smith said. He grabbed a fumble later, too, capping quite a late-season surge. "Ive always just been taught to run to the ball and good things will happen for me," Smith said. "I played running back as a kid, so its always been the most exciting thing to have the ball in my hands." Kelly Olynyk Jersey . If there is one club built to handle an off-field controversy, its the Bill Belichick era Patriots. Even if New Englands offence stumbles a bit out of the gate, their defence can help them stay in games, especially in the AFC East with the Buffalo Bills and New York Jets in the first two weeks. Tim Hardaway Jersey . Cammalleri suffered a concussion in the Flames 2-1 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins on Saturday. The 31-year-old forward did not travel with the team to Carolina. http://www.authenticbasketballshopheat. ... -jersey/.C. -- Charles Oakley, one of the NBAs all-time tough guys, may not return to the Charlotte Bobcats bench next season because of a painful back condition he says was caused during an assault last year in Las Vegas. Custom Miami Heat Jerseys .Cameron sustained his third concussion in three seasons last week on a hit by Oakland safety Brandion Ross, who was fined $22,050 by the NFL for the helmet-to-helmet blow. Tyler Johnson Jersey . Seriously. Seven years of losing has brought many different faces, players and management, to the annual pre-season get-to-know-the-team round up.GREENSBORO, N.C. - Jason Brown gushed to Adam Rippon: Oh my god, it was amazing.He turned to Joshua Farris, his skating rival for nearly a decade, and told him, Its just so cool to continue to grow together.Brown won his first U.S. title Sunday when Rippons stellar long program couldnt make up a big deficit and Farris mistake may have cost him the championship. All three were still beaming afterward, a breakthrough performance for each competitor.The 20-year-old Brown, the runner-up a year ago to earn an Olympic berth, handled the pressure of being the favourite with aplomb. Leading Rippon by 8.65 points after the short program, Brown had no massive mistakes in the free skate to finish with 274.98 points, a record for the event and enough to beat Rippon by 2.5.I was just checking it off the list and performing to the audience, Brown said.Rippon became the first man to win back-to-back world junior titles in 2009. But he had struggled to live up to that promise in the senior ranks — as he put it, some hopeless old skater who used to have a lot of potential.Rippon, 25, had just one medal at the U.S. Championships before Sunday, a silver in 2012, and was eighth last year.That was when he told coach Rafael Arutyunyan he didnt like competing and didnt know what he wanted to do next.Arutyunyan looked me dead straight in the eyes, Rippon recalled, and he said, Buddy, you need to figure it out.Rippon did some choreography over the summer — including best friend Ashley Wagners short program, which helped her win the womens title here. But this week, something completely changed in my mind about his own skating.I wasnt half in it anymore, he said. I was fully invested.Rippon frequently changed coaches in the past but found stability with Arutyunyan, who also guided Wagner to a dominant victory. Known more for his artistry than his jumping throughout his career, Rippon realized he needed to up the difficulty of his programs. That was why he added the quad lutz.I came into this week kind of feeling that I had been written off. I really wanted to change that taalk about me, he said.dddddddddddd I wanted to come here and I wanted people to see me as a champion.I feel like a champion today.The quad was downgraded by the judges Sunday, though Rippon landed eight triple jumps perfectly. But he had been in fifth place after the short program, when he lost out on points for spins that were too short.On Sunday, he was both technically sharp and lyrically refined. As soon as the music ended, Rippon screamed and shook both hands in front of him. He choked back tears after his free skate score of 187.77, a U.S. Championships record that temporarily put him in first.Brown landed with two feet on his second triple axel but had eight triples overall, and his 181.62 points were enough to overtake Rippon.Farris skated last and performed well enough to potentially pass Brown. He completed a quad toe loop, with a small deduction for an extra turn on the landing.But on his first combination, he did a double toe loop instead of a triple. That meant he received no credit for his final combination because it was his third different double toe.Asked later if he was kicking himself for the miscue, Farris let his head fall to the table.To be honest, yes, he said. I mean, who wouldnt?But the 20-year-old is going to his first world championships, and he is proud of how he landed seven triples even though he spun through the air at a crooked angle on several of them.I fought through that whole entire program, he said.Defending champion Jeremy Abbott dropped from third to fifth after falling twice during the long program. The 29-year-old Abbott had planned to retire after last season, when he won his fourth U.S. title, but rethought those plans. He hasnt decided what hell do next.Max Aaron, the 2013 champion, was fourth despite landing two quad salchows Sunday. But he earned far fewer points than the top three for his choreography and style.Brown proved he could win a U.S. title without a quad. But it will be another thing to contend at the world championships in Shanghai in March if he doesnt add one before then. 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