At age 81 of bone cancer, Billy Wilson (above), who led the NFL in receiving three times in the 1950s. In a 10-year career with the 49ers, Wilson caught 407 passes and played in six Pro Bowls. Before his 2007 death, former Niners coach Bill Walsh spearheaded an unsuccessful campaign to get Wilson into the Hall of Fame. "Whenever we needed a big catch, I went to him," Hall of Fame quarterback Y.A. Tittle said. "I knew he would make the play."
This is an article from the Feb. 9, 2009 issue
At age 74, Glenn Davis, who won three Olympic gold medals, including two in the 400-meter hurdles. Nicknamed Jeep, Davis also played wide receiver briefly for the Detroit Lions after graduating from Ohio State, where he won the Sullivan Award in 1958. Davis, who was on the cover of SI on June 27, 1960, won the hurdles in 1956 and '60, and also won gold in the 4 √ó 400-meter relay at his second Games.
For what he called "regrettable" behavior after a British tabloid ran a picture of him apparently smoking marijuana, record-setting Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps. Sunday's News of the World contained a story detailing Phelps's visit to a party at the University of South Carolina and a picture of him taking a hit off a bong. "I acted in a youthful and inappropriate way, not in a manner people have come to expect from me," Phelps, 23, said in a statement. "For this, I am sorry. I promise my fans and the public it will not happen again." According to the World Anti-Doping Agency, an athlete can only be suspended for marijuana use if he tests positive during a competition.
By the Ottawa Senators, coach Craig Hartsburg. With the team on the verge of missing the playoffs for the first time in 13 years, the first-year coach was replaced by Cory Clouston, who becomes the Senators' fourth coach since they lost the 2007 Stanley Cup finals. The move came less than a week after owner Eugene Melnyk dismissed talk of an overhaul by saying, "Anybody that says we should blow up this organization should get their own bomb and go blow themselves up, O.K.?"
By a Cincinnati TV station, a tape of the arrest of Andy Kennedy in which the Ole Miss basketball coach tells police that they are creating "an international altercation." Kennedy was arrested in Cincinnati on Dec. 18 for allegedly making racist comments and striking a cab driver who refused to pick up Kennedy and four male friends. (Kennedy has sued the cab driver for defamation; the cabbie has countersued.) According to WLWT, Kennedy, who was in town for the SEC--Big East Challenge, told police, "I'm playing Louisville and Rick Pitino tomorrow.... I am going to be on national television. If I'm not standing there at 9 p.m. tomorrow, this is an international altercation." The police were unmoved. "You think we've never arrested somebody that's made national media?" one officer later told him. "We deal with the Bengals all the time."
One game check by the Dallas Cowboys for posting an offensive rap video on the Internet, Martellus Bennett (left). The tight end's YouTube video included several obscenities and homophobic slurs. He later put up another rap with the lyrics: "Why they hating on me? It was just a song. I was only rapping. I ain't do nothing wrong." Bennett, who had 20 catches and four touchdowns as a rookie last year, was docked $22,647.
Never again to play for his coach after hearing name mispronounced, Charles N'Zogbia (n-ZOG-bi-uh). After Newcastle manager Joe Kinnear twice pronounced the midfielder's surname insomnia in a postmatch interview last week, N'Zogbia, who was born in France to Congolese parents, issued a statement saying, "I will never play for him again." Kinnear said, "I got a little tongue-tied, but if I had a pound for every time I've mispronounced a player's name down the years, then I'd be a very wealthy man indeed." N'Zogbia, 22, was sold to Wigan on Sunday.
They Said It
The Nets' 28-year-old guard, on teammate Vince Carter (below) turning 32 last week: "He started his career with the Raptors, now he's technically a dinosaur."
SIGN OF THE APOCALYPSE
Former Steelers running back Franco Harris is selling a line of furniture called the Immaculate Collection.