Morning State Sports Briefs: Rodgers pay well behind other top QBs
GREEN BAY - Aaron Rodgers may be the NFL's reigning MVP, but he's not being paid like it. The Green Bay quarterback is scheduled to get $29-and-a-quarter million over the next three years. That's less than half of what quarterbacks Drew Brees of the Saints and Peyton Manning of Denver are being paid.
Brees recently signed a monster $100-million contract over five years - and $40-million of it is guaranteed. Packers' general manager Ted Thompson is not saying much about it, but re-upping with Rodgers appears to be a top priority. In the meantime, the 28-year-old Rodgers is practicing as well as ever. Quarterbacks coach Ben McAdoo says Rodgers has a lot of energy, and sharp both at practice and in the meeting room. But McAdoo says he's most impressed about Rodgers' leadership - and how he mentors younger players. There's a lot of that going on right now, as the Packers began their second week of training camp practices this morning. The Family Night scrimmage is tomorrow night before a sold-out Lambeau Field. And the Pack's first exhibition game is next Thursday night at San Diego.
The Green Bay Packers practiced yesterday under the eyes of NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and a group of replacement officials. The league's regular officials are being locked out after their previous contract expired. And officials from indoor leagues and lower NCAA divisions have been training for a couple months to take the regulars' place, starting Sunday with the Hall-of-Fame Game in Canton, Ohio. Packers' coach Mike McCarthy says he has no concerns over the issue - and the team will just get ready to play and see what happens down the line. Packer players hope the two sides can work out a deal, but they're not too outwardly concerned either. Guard T.J. Lang said there's an advantage in knowing those who make the calls - but he does not expect things to be all that different with the replacements. Center Jeff Saturday said the replacements have been trained, and it's not like they're just coming off the street. The union says pension changes are the big issue. Goodell says the league has increased its compensation offer for this season. He also said the league wants to add 21 new officials with the ability to move them in-and-out during the year. The commissioner said negotiations with the regular officials are continuing.
At the Olympics, former Wisconsin rower Kristin Hedstrom finished seventh among 12 boats in this morning's semi-finals of the women's lightweight double sculls. Hedstrom and her U.S. partner Julie Nichols had a time of seven-minutes, 12-point-61 seconds for two-thousand meters. The top six boats advanced to the gold medal final, and Hedstrom's boat was just 36-hundredths of a second behind the sixth-place boat of Australia's Bronwen Watson and Hannah Every-Hall. Sophie Hosking and Katherine Copeland of Great Britain had the best time of 7:05.90.
Lots of fans and reporters have written off the Milwaukee Brewers' playoff chances - but not outfielder Ryan Braun. The reigning National League MVP sounded as optimistic as ever after the Brewers swept three games from Houston this week at Miller Park. For now, the Brew Crew is locked into fourth place in the National League Central, eight games behind third-place Saint Louis and 15 in back of the first-place Cincinnati Reds. But after yesterday's 13-4 rout of the Astros, Braun said quote, "There's no reason to give up. Why are you going to give up, ever? Unless you're mathematically eliminated, you're going to continue to believe you have a chance. There are a lot of crazy things that have happened throughout the course of the history of this game." The Astros have the Majors' lowest winning percentage by far at .330, as they work to re-build and get ready to move to the American League next year. While many would see a sweep of the Astros as no big deal, Braun said they're still a Major League team and quote, "It's not easy to sweep any team at this level, regardless of who they have or who they don't have." The Brewers have hit 22 homers and scored 68 runs in their last 10 games, and Braun hit his league-leading 29th homer yesterday. He said things like that are contagious and quote, "You never know." The Brewers are off today, and will open a weekend series in Saint Louis tomorrow night.
The Wisconsin Timber Rattlers will try to take a two-games-to-one edge in their Midwest League series with Burlington, when the two teams play this afternoon near Appleton. The Bees evened the series last night with a 3-1 victory. It's a four-game set, and today's Game-Three was scheduled for a 12:05 start. The Beloit Snappers will go for their third straight home win over Kane County tonight, after winning 8-6 last evening. Also tonight, Clinton plays at Cedar Rapids. Peoria is at Quad Cities. Bowling Green hosts Great Lakes. Lake County plays at West Michigan. Lansing is at Dayton. And South Bend entertains Fort Wayne. Clinton still leads the Western Division by two games over Burlington. Bowling Green and Fort Wayne both top the East by a game over Lansing.
Three Olympians with ties to Wisconsin will make their debuts tomorrow at the London Games. Darlington native Michael McPhail will compete in the men's 50-meter rifle prone shooting event at three a-m tomorrow, Wisconsin time. At four, ex-Badgers' runner Evan Jager will start his run toward the gold in the three-thousand-meter steeple-chase. And at 4:30 tomorrow morning, Milwaukee native Beezie Madden will start going for her fourth Olympic medal as the equestrian team-jumping event opens. Also, Stevens Point native Lauren Sesselmann will play for Canada in the quarter-finals of the women's soccer competition. The Canadians will take on Great Britain tomorrow afternoon. Early today, former Wisconsin rower Kristin Hedstrom just barely missed the medal round in the women's lightweight double sculls. Hedstrom and her U.S. partner Julie Nichols finished seventh among 12 boats - and they missed the medal race by just 36-hundredths of a second behind sixth-place Australia.
In the Midwest League...
Beloit 8, Kane County 6
Burlington 3, Wisconsin 1
Peoria 11, Quad Cities 10
Clinton 9, Cedar Rapids 8
Dayton 4, Lansing 2
Great Lakes 9, Bowling Green 2
Fort Wayne 5, South Bend 4
Lake County 7, West Michigan 2
In the Northwoods League...
Wisconsin 7, Green Bay 1
Madison 7, La Crosse 6 in 11 innings
Eau Claire 14, Wisconsin Rapids 7
Lakeshore 4, Battle Creek 0
Willmar 20, Rochester 3
Saint Cloud 5, Alexandria 4
Waterloo 6, Duluth 4
Mankato 3, Thunder Bay 1 in 10 innings