WISCONSIN SPORTS ROUNDUP: Announcement on whether Matthews will be fined or not expected today
The N-F-L is expected to confirm today whether Green Bay Packers' linebacker Clay Matthews was fined for his out-of-bounds clothesline hit on Colin Kaepernick last weekend. Matthews would not say yesterday whether he was penalized. He urged reporters to ask questions about his next game coming up on Sunday against Washington at Lambeau Field. Matthews then smiled and said, "I'm an awesome player, not a dirty player." He said he was fined only once in his career for an on-field incident -- that being in 2010, when he fined five-thousand dollars for grabbing the face-mask of Chicago Bears' quarterback Jay Cutler. In Matthews' words, "I think my resume is pretty good right now." Meanwhile, ESPN said the NFL downgraded referee Bill Leavy, after he gave the 49'ers two third-down plays as the result of the late hit on Kaepernick, and the pushing-and-shoving that followed. The league said Monday that Leavy's crew should not have given 49'ers lineman Joe Staley an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty -- and instead of being third down again, the Niners should have had first-and-goal at the Green Bay three. The Niners scored a touchdown on the ensuing play. Leavy's downgrading may affect his chances to get post-season assignments.
Green Bay Packers' safety Morgan Burnett says he's feeling better than a week ago. But he's still not sure whether he'll be able to play in Sunday's home opener against Washington. Burnett was a limited participant at yesterday's practice, with a lingering hamstring injury that kept him out of last weekend's loss at San Francisco. He was missed, as the 49'ers burned the Packers' younger safeties for most of their 412 passing yards. Corner Jarrett Bush was added to the Packers' injury report after he pulled a hamstring at yesterday's practice. He was limited, as was outside linebacker Nick Perry after a neck stinger at Wednesday's workout. Guard Josh Sitton and tight end Jermichael Finley returned to practice after sitting out on Wednesday. Sitton is getting over a back issue. Finley hurt a toe against the 49'ers last week.
Wisconsin football coach Gary Andersen says he might use both his kickers on field goal attempts tomorrow night, when the 20th-ranked Badgers play at Arizona State. Starter Kyle French and back-up Jack Russell had tougher workouts this week. That was after French missed an extra point attempt last Saturday against Tennessee Tech, and Russell missed from 31 yards out. Andersen said both kickers passed his tests during the week, and had kicked the ball well. French is expected to keep his kickoff duties, with an average of 64-and-a-half yards in his first 14 kicks. Meanwhile, the playing status of fullback Derek Watt remains uncertain. He practiced on a limited basis this week, after he hurt a hamstring against U-Mass almost two weeks ago. Also, backup quarterback and receiver Tanner McEvoy has a lingering wrist injury. He also plays some safety, and the coach says it's where he'll stay during the next six weeks because he'll be wearing a splint.
The Milwaukee Brewers avoided getting swept at Saint Louis, by beating the Cardinals 5-to-3 last night in the finale of their three-game series. The Brewers led 4-nothing after four innings and hung on from there. Sean Halton had a two-run homer and an R-B-I single for the Crew. Aramis Ramirez drove in a run with a ground-out, and Norichika Aoki gave the Brewers an insurance run in the ninth with a run-scoring triple. Matt Adams hit a solo homer for Saint Louis, which dropped into a tie with Pittsburgh for the National League Central Division lead. Tyler Thornburg got the win. He struck out six in six innings, and gave up two runs on three hits with a pair of walks. He's now 2-and-1. Jim Henderson picked up his 25th save. Joe Kelly took the loss, giving up four runs -- three earned -- in five frames. The loss was Kelly's first in nine starts since moving into the Cardinals' rotation on July sixth. He's now 8-and-4 on the year. Milwaukee won only its fourth game in 16 tries against the Cards. The Brewers are back home tonight against Cincinnati. Right-hander Kyle Lohse faces Reds' righty Mat Latos.
Madison golfer Steve Stricker is tied for third place going into today's second round of the B-M-W Championship near Chicago. Stricker shot a five-under-par 66 yesterday, as the third of four tournaments began in the Fed-Ex Cup playoff series. He's three strokes off the lead. Stricker made six birdies with one bogey -- and he said he managed his game well. Brandt Snedeker has the first-round advantage at eight-under-63. The Top-30 players in the Fed-Ex standings after the B-M-W event will advance to next week's playoff finale, the Tour Championship near Atlanta. The eighth-place Stricker is a lock to make that field. He's one of just three players to make the final event in all of the first six Fed-Ex Cup playoff years. Phil Mickelson and Hunter Mahan are the others.