Kermit Washington talks with Blount

Brought together by Oregon coach Chip Kelly and school officials, suspended running back LeGarrette Blount spoke with former NBA forward Kermit Washington, who punched Rudy Tomjanovich in an on-court brawl in 1977.

Washingtona€™s punch, which nearly killed Tomjanovich, resonates as one of the most notable examples of violence in sports, along with Ron Artesta€™s meltdown in a brawl between the Pacers and Pistons in 2004, and NHL right wing Tie Domia€™s sucker punch that knocked out Ulf Samuelsson.

Blount was suspended for the season last week for punching Boise State defensive end Byron Hout following the opener between the two teams. The hit was captured by national television, and has been shown countless times since.

Blount apologized to reporters immediately following the game. Then he and Kelly called Hout and Broncos coach Chris Petersen to personally apologize over the weekend.

And he spoke with Washington, who told him not to make any excuses.

Washington, who was then with the Los Angeles Lakers, was suspended for 60 days, spanning 26 games, following his clocking of Tomjanovich. His career was never the same afterward.

Tomjanovich, who played for the Rockets, recovered and went on to coach in the NBA.

Since he left the NBA, Washington has devoted much of his time to numerous charities.

Kelly also said he heard from Miami coach Randy Shannon, who was the defensive coordinator when the Hurricanes were involved in a melee against Florida International in 2006.

a€œThose are two specifically that kind of walked in either LeGarrettea€™s shoes, or had been in that situation before,a€ Kelly said. a€œThat part is encouraging, that there are people out there that are willing to help you and try to counsel you on whata€™s the right thing to do.a€

Blount was allowed to stay on scholarship and practice, but he cannot play in any games. The suspension effectively ends his career with the Ducks.

As for the others, Ron Artest served the longest suspension in NBA history (the equivalent of 73 games and the playoffs) and Domi was suspended for eight games.


SWINE FLU ALERT: After what has transpired at Washington State, the Pac-10a€™s coaches are keeping a close watch for any sign of the flu among their players.

Washington State is currently in the midst of a swine flu outbreak, with more than 2,000 student reporting flu-like symptoms.

Attendance at last Saturdaya€™s football game in Pullman was down, likely because of publicity about the flu. Hand sanitizer was available at the concession stands.

Coach Paul Wulff said 16 players have come down with the flu at different times, and top receiver Daniel Blackledge missed practice Tuesday because of the flu.

Wulff, however, said that to his knowledge none of his players have confirmed cases of the H1N1 virus.

Arizonaa€™s Mike Stoops said he doesna€™t believe there is cause for alarm, yet.

a€œI think youa€™re just much more aware of it now, and try to isolate you players as much as you can,a€ he said.

Oregon State coach Mike Riley said his trainers have addressed the team about swine flu precautions, including hand washing.

The issue was of concern in Oregon because last month a flu bug hit the Western Oregon University football team, sickening about 30 players in fall camp. When the H1N1 virus hit WOU last spring, all athletic events were canceled.


BRING ON THE NOISE: Southern California is no stranger to big games and the big noise that often comes with them. But this weekend at Ohio State is sure to test the eardrums.

That said, the Trojans are practicing with noise, and a few other tactics, too, including a silent count sometimes used in the pros.

Coach Pete Carroll said the key, however, is focus, and ita€™s worked out well for USC in the past.

a€œYou know, you go back to the most critical play wea€™ve ever had in a noise situation was back in Notre Dame. And the play of the game, Matt (Leinart) makes a check off at the loudest most impossible opportunity, and everybody on the field had to hear what he said, and they did. And so the game goes on, even though ita€™s really loud,a€ he said.

The history: The game took place back in 2005, and is considered one of the best in the long rivalry between the Trojans and the Fighting Irish.

Trailing in the final moments, Leinart fumbled out of bounds, and Notre Damea€™s crowd went crazy. But time was put back on the clock, and Leinart pulled off a game-winning quarterback sneak from inside the 1-yard-line.


HONORS: Cal quarterback Kevin Riley, Arizona State linebacker Mike Nixon and Stanford kick returner Chris Owusu have been named the Pac-10a€™s players of the week.

Riley completed 17 of 26 passes for 298 yards and a career-high four touchdowns in the Golden Bearsa€™ 52-13 victory over Maryland.

Basically, Cal coach Jeff Tedford said, Riley did everything right.

a€œI was happy with his decision-making, the way he ran the offense, utilized the clock well, ran the 2-minute drill real well before halftime, threw the ball away, took sacks when he needed to, so I thought he was very efficient,a€ Tedford said.

Nixon intercepted three passes, including one he returned for a touchdown, in the Sun Devilsa€™ 50-3 victory over Idaho, while Owusu returned three kickoffs for 143 yards, including an 85-yard touchdown return, in Stanforda€™s 39-13 victory over Washington State.


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