Robbie Gould attempted only two field goals of 50 or more yards in his first four seasons. Now he's closing in on a record from long distance.

Gould has made nine consecutive field goals of 50-plus yards, the longest active streak in the NFL. The record is 11 by Tony Zendejas from 1988 to 1993 with the Oilers and Rams. Gould's streak began in Week 11 of 2010 at Miami.

Gould tried just two field goals from 50 and out in his first 63 regular-season games. He has attempted 14 in his last 49 games, connecting on 12, including a 54-yarder in the Bears' 23-6 victory over the Rams on Sunday at Soldier Field.

Overall, Gould is 12-for-16 from 50-plus, and at 75 percent cheap Air Max 95 he ranks third in NFL history with a minimum of 10 attempts. George Blanda is tops at 80 percent (8-for-10).

Health beat: Defensive end Julius Peppers (foot) and fullback Evan Rodriguez (knee) were the only players to sit out with injuries Wednesday, which was an extra practice with the game not until Monday. Peppers has been getting rest each week, and Rodriguez could miss a game or two with a sprained left MCL.

Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said there is some hope Pro Bowl nose tackle Jay Ratliff could return from a high ankle sprain suffered in the third exhibition game. But he has yet to practice, and even if he's cleared, it's unlikely he would be at full strength. Safety Gerald Sensabaugh (calf) and center Phil Costa (back) also did not practice Wednesday.

Faith and work: Bears right tackle Gabe Carimi, who was observing the Jewish holiday Yom Kippur, arrived at Halas Hall shortly before the afternoon practice. He did not participate because he was fasting.

"You're not supposed to work. You're not supposed to turn on lights (if you follow close religious doctrine)," Carimi said. "I am reformed. I still drive. I feel like going to work and watching practice and going through the mental reps is not work. I'll watch. I would be too thirsty if I actually did anything."

 
HOUSTON -- The Houston Astros have named Bo Porter their next manager.

Porter is currently the third base coach for the Washington Nationals and will remain in that role through the team's run through the playoffs.

The Astros fired Brad Mills in August and replaced him on an interim basis with Tony DeFrancesco, who will remain on the job through the end of Houston's second straight disastrous season.

After a franchise-worst 56-106 record in 2011, the Astros are on their way to eclipsing that mark at 51-105 with just six games remaining. The Astros had never lost 100 games before last season.

"Bo's experience and management style will help Air Max 95 lead our young players in creating a sense of urgency to restart the Astros' winning tradition," said owner Jim Crane.

The 40-year-old Porter played three seasons in the majors with the Cubs, Athletics and Rangers from 1999-2001 and has made his way through the coaching ranks. He was the Marlins' third base coach from 2007-09 and started 2010 as Arizona's third base coach before taking the reins as the Diamondbacks' bench coach when Kirk Gibson was promoted to manager that July.

"Bo Porter has been successful as a player and as a coach and is ready to lead the Houston Astros as our next manager," said Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow. "He is a natural leader and a winner and he inspires people around him to be their best. He is driven to succeed and we look forward to seeing the positive results as he channels his energy and expertise toward creating winning teams in Houston."

Porter, a Houston resident, was the manager of the Marlins' New York-Penn League affiliate in 2006.

The Astros started with nine candidates for the position, then trimmed the list to four finalists, including Porter and DeFrancesco.

"The finalists were all uniquely qualified to lead this team going forward," Luhnow added. "In the end, we selected the candidate that best fit the criteria we were seeking and is best suited to lead the Astros through this transition phase and help us achieve our common objective of consistent competitiveness and ultimately, multiple championships."

In addition to the managerial change, the Astros will also switch leagues next year. The club played in the National League from its inception as an expansion franchise in 1962 and will move to the American League next year as part of the realignment that will give each league 15 teams.

 
In a little over a minute, the general public caught a glimpse seeing Dwight Howard perform exercises he's stayed away from for months.

In a workout on Wednesday at the Lakers' practice facility in El Segundo, Lakers.com's Mike Trudell presents in the video above how Howard went through various post moves with assistant coaches Darvin Ham and Chuck Person. What that means regarding his rehab efforts after having back surgery in April? Well, the Lakers have offered no timetable on his return, other than crossing him off for the preseason opener Oct. 7 against Golden State (sorry Fresno fans). It's also hard to envision how an informal off-season workout translates in an actual NBA game.

Still, the video above provides enough signs that Howard's progressing enough on his back. For someone who used a walker after his back surgery, Howard looked fluid. air max 2012 He made a good portion of his baby hook shots with each hand. Howard showcased a quick first step when driving to the hoop. Ham's light forearms to Howard's back didn't cause him to wince.

Does this give anyone more clarity about whether Howard will be ready to suit up for the regular season opener Oct. 30 against Dallas? Probably not. But the Lakers have reported no setbacks during the rehab process, so keep your fingers crossed.

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Email the Lakers blog at mgmedin@gmail.com. Follow the Lakers blog on Twitter and on Facebook.

 
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BARCELONA, Spain — Real Madrid recorded its much-needed second victory of the season without putting on a performance worthy of the Spanish champions on Monday, winning 2-0 at Rayo Vallecano after goals from Karim Benzema and Cristiano Ronaldo.

Benzema scored the 13th-minute opener and Ronaldo added a penalty in the 70th after Jordi Amat had handled the ball in the box to keep Madrid eight points behind Spanish league leader Barcelona after five rounds.

“Rayo has a great team with quality players and they made it very tough for us,” said Madrid defender Pepe. “We have to keep fighting. This has just begun  cheap air max shoesand we have to take each game seriously, so we can cut into (Barcelona’s) lead little by little.”

In a match delayed by a day due to the stadium lights at Vallecas stadium being cut in an act of sabotage, Madrid showed little of the verve from its memorable victory over Manchester City in the Champions League last week.

Instead, Jose Mourinho’s squad returned to its uninspired domestic form against one of the league’s more modest teams, needing a flash of individual talent and a defensive error to take the critical three points.

While far from bubbling with praise for his players, Mourinho has obviously seen improvement since the previous round when he said he “didn’t have a team” and questioned his players’ commitment after losing 1-0 at Sevilla.

“The team was a team (tonight), but we could have played better,” said Mourinho. “During long stretches of last season we were always on target and routed our rivals, but right now we are not playing well. We have no confidence.”

Also, Sevilla won 2-0 at Deportivo La Coruna thanks to second-half goals by Alvaro Negredo and Ivan Rakitic, keeping the Andalusian side undefeated and four points behind Barcelona.

The Spanish capital derby was held after electricians repaired the various cables that were damaged at Rayo’s stadium by unidentified persons on Sunday, in what club president Raul Martin Presa called “football terrorism.”

Sergio Ramos returned to the starting team after Mourinho had left him on the bench for Madrid’s win over City, apparently singling out the Spain defender for his team’s loss in the previous round.

“I don’t know if it was a punishment,” said Ramos, adding that he thought his absence from the City match was due to “tactical reasons.”

Angel Di Maria teed up Madrid’s opener when the Argentina international was given time on the left flank to pick out Benzema at the far post and thread a pass between three defenders for his striker to tap into the net. It was Benzema’s first goal in the league this season.

Twice in the first four rounds, Madrid had looked set to cruise to an easy win after going ahead early, only to let victory slip away. And Mourinho’s team appeared close to repeating the pattern on Monday after slowing up following a strong start.

Rayo almost struck back from a set piece in the 33rd. Striker Andrija Delibasic drew a reflex save from goalkeeper Iker Casillas with his header, and Xabi Alonso was well positioned on the goal line to block Jose Casado’s volleyed rebound.

Madrid defender Alvaro Arbeloa came near to gifting Rayo an equalizer in the 52nd when he failed to spot Leonardo Carrilho before passing back to Casillas, but the forward squandered the chance.

Madrid was eventually able to relax when Rayo defender Amat deflected Ronaldo’s cross with his arm inside the area, and the Portugal forward slotted home the spot kick to decide the contest.

 
MEDINAH, Ill. — Every time a European player reaches for a club during the Ryder Cup, it’s almost as if Seve Ballesteros were still looking on. A year after his death, the Spaniard’s fist-pumping silhouette is emblazoned front and center on their golf bags, a reminder to a new generation why this event came to matter so much in the first place.

"This was one way that Seve could be with us every step of the way," said European captain Jose Maria Olazabal, Ballesteros’ longtime playing partner and pal.

Ballesteros died in May 2011 from complications associated with a cancerous brain tumor. With the exception of the captains and their assistants, air max 2012 the only golfer on either team who actually played alongside or against the fiercest competitor of his generation was American Phil Mickelson.

Yet U.S. captain Davis Love can still recall the details from his run-ins with Ballesteros nearly 20 years ago. He was paired with Tom Kite in his first Ryder Cup in 1993 when he drew the Ballesteros-Olazabal team three times. The Americans won the first meeting — one of only two the Spanish duo would lose over the course of 15 matches together — and then wound up getting beat in the next two.

Considering some of the out-of-the-way places from which Ballesteros conjured up magical shots to snatch away momentum or win matches, you have to wonder whether there was some humor intended in Davis’ gift to Europe’s players — yardage books with that same silhouette inside.

"Jose Maria and I talked a lot about some different things we needed to do to help honor Seve. ... I know it’s emotional for him," Love said about Olazabal. "But it’s emotional, I’m sure, for Fred Couples or Paul Azinger or Phil (Mickelson). We competed against him."

Until Ballesteros came along in 1979 — when players from continental Europe were added — the Ryder Cup was a sleepy, one-sided affair. The best U.S. golfers interrupted their schedules just long enough to show up, roll up big winning margins against their Britain-Ireland rivals, then stay for a few drinks and hearty backslaps and leave with the hardware.

Ballesteros was having none of that. Friendship took a backseat to winning. So did sportsmanship at times, if some of the stories about him jangling coins in his pocket or coughing in the middle of an opponent’s backswing were true. And because that little biennial competition came to matter so much to Ballesteros, he made sure it mattered to Olazabal and every other one of the less-talented players with whom he shared the team room at Ryder Cups.

Ballesteros hit his last shot in 1995, helping Europe win or retain the Cup four times in his eight appearances as a player. The first of those wins, in 1985, reversed a losing streak stretching nearly three decades. He returned as Europe’s captain in 1997, when the Cup traveled to Spain largely as a tribute to Ballesteros’ contributions

It was the last time he appeared in public at a Ryder Cup. As his business interests grew and his illness took its toll, Ballesteros became more and more an inspirational figure in the distance. Two years ago in Wales, too sick to travel from his home on Spain’s wind-swept northern coast, he spoke to the team via telephone hookup. Many of the same players whose careers he influenced — and in some cases, helped launch — made no effort to hide their tears.

"This is the first time since then that he has not been present in any way," Olazabal said, as though he felt a need to justify the use of Ballesteros’ silhouette.

"Seve was an important part of the Ryder Cup because of the way he played and conducted himself, from his opening match in 1979."

That echoed something golfers from different times and places almost always mentioned.

In the summer of 2010, the same illness forced Ballesteros to miss a scheduled exhibition of past champions at St. Andrews commemorating the 150th anniversary of the game’s oldest major. A sand wedge and a pair of worn white golf shoes from his 1984 win there sat in a glass case in the Old Course Museum across the street. A photograph nearby showed him in the fist-pumping profile that became his silhouette.

Despite winning three British Opens, two Masters and almost single-handedly reviving the game for an entire continent — much like Palmer on this side of the pond — Ballesteros was always more respected than loved over here. Maybe the language barrier was why all that charisma and all those remarkable recovery shots got lost in translation. Or maybe what put Americans off was simply Ballesteros’ competitiveness and over-the-top delight at punishing the U.S. squad in every Ryder Cup he was part of.

"That only made him more of a hero to us," countryman Miguel Angel Jimenez recalled back in 2010. "There were so few models for many of us when we began playing, but it was not just his swing. It was how he walked, like a leader all the time, how he never lost his fighting spirit, no matter how much trouble he was in.

 
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Madonna said Monday night that President Barack Obama is a black Muslim and you better vote for him, or she's going to keep dressing the way she does until she's in her 80s.

Well, she actually said most of that.

The singer brought her MDNA Tour to Washington, D.C. on Monday night, and added a bizarre dose of politics to the show.

"Y'all better vote for (expletive) Obama, OK? For better or for worse, all right? We have a black Muslim in the White House. Now that's some amazing (expletive)Nike Air Max Shoes," she said. "It means there is hope in this country. And Obama is fighting for gay rights, so support the man, (expletive)."

She would be easy to dismiss if she didn't have her Ph.D. in political science. Oh, wait ...

Her comments came in the middle of an extended speech that touched on Martin Luther King Jr.'s legacy and traced the civil rights movement from America's inception to Obama's election.

Sorry, that's a Ph.D. in American history.

This is not the first time Madonna has mentioned Obama during her live act. Earlier in September, she thanked the president and unveiled a (presumably fake) back tattoo of his name.

"I've seen some scary things," she said at the time. "I've seen people being locked up and put in jail for speaking their minds, for being gay, for not practicing the right religion, for not dressing the proper way. Yeah, it's scary. But what it made me realize is how lucky I am to be living here in

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America. It doesn't mean that this is the perfect country. We have a long way to go."

She also expressed her gratitude for the first lady: "Thank god for Michelle Obama."

No, thank God for Madonna. Or I'd have to write about Lindsay Lohan today.

Madonna plays the HP Pavilion in San Jose Oct. 6-7.

Contact Tony Hicks at thicks@bayareanewsgroup.com or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/BayAreaNewsGroup.TonyHicks.

Copyright 2012 San Jose Mercury News. All rights reserved.

 
San Jose police today released photographs of a man suspected in at least two bank robberies that occurred in the past month in Santa Clara County.

In each photo taken from bank surveillance video, the man is seen wearing a baseball cap and hooded sweatshirt.

The most recent robbery happened on Sept. 5, when the man entered a U.S. Bank in Sunnyvale, made demands and took off on foot with an undisclosed amount of cash, according to San Jose police. On Aug. 29, police say the suspect walked into a U.S. Bank in San Jose, made demands and fled off on foot with an undisclosed amount of cash.

Police say on Aug. 27 the man walked into a U.S. cheap air max shoesBank in Sunnyvale and was acting suspicious.

Anyone with information about this case is urged to contact detective Semore of the San Jose Police Departments Robbery Unit at 408-277-4166 or by email at 3789@sanjoseca.gov. Those wishing to remain anonymous can call the Silicon Valley Crime Stoppers at 408-947-STOP (7867), or may visit: http://svcrimestoppers.org/. Persons providing information leading to the arrest and conviction of the suspects may be eligible for a cash reward.

Contact Mark Gomez at 408-920-5869. Follow him on Twitter @MarkMgomez

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Copyright 2012 San Jose Mercury News. All rights reserved.

 
ATLANTA (AP) — The police officer who arrested Atlanta Falcons defensive end John Abraham said Abraham was "obviously intoxicated" as he refused requests to leave an area taped off by firefighters and police on Monday night. FILE - This 2012 file photo shows John Abraham of the Atlanta Falcons NFL football team. Abraham is free on bond Tuesday, Sept. 25, 2012, after being arrested on misdemeanor charges when authorities say he refused to leave an area taped off by police. (AP Photo/File) Multimedia Photoview all photos Article Gallery: Police say Abraham intoxicated when arrested In a police report released on Tuesday, Officer Christopher Blaise of the Atlanta police department said Abraham "had a strong odor of alcoholic beverage coming from him, his speech was extremely slurred, his eyes were bloodshot and he was unsteady on his feet" when he was arrested on two misdemeanor charges of obstruction. Fulton County jail records showed Abraham was released from custody Tuesday at 1:24 a.m. Nike Air Max 95on a $7,000 total bond, or $3,500 for each charge. The arrest of Abraham, the team's top pass rusher, came one week after running back Michael Turner's drunken driving arrest. Turner, also charged with speeding, was allowed to play in Sunday's 27-3 win in San Diego. The Falcons are off on Tuesday and there was no word from the team on Abraham's status for Sunday's game against Carolina. Falcons spokesman Reggie Roberts said Tuesday he did not expect a comment from the team on Abraham's arrest before coach Mike Smith has his normal news conference on Wednesday. The Falcons said late Monday the team was gathering more information on the incident. Abraham's arrest came after Atlanta firefighters and police responded to a report of a female threatening to jump from a hotel window Monday night, according to Officer K. Y. Jones. Officers were moving people away from the scene when Abraham entered the taped-off area. Blaise said firefighter Jeff Schultz said he asked Abraham to leave at least three times. Blaise said he and a hotel security officer also asked Abraham to remain behind the tape. Blaise said Abraham "argued with me, stating that he lived at the location and that he owned three condos there." Blaise said he told Abraham other residents were patiently waiting behind the line. Blaise said Abraham continued to argue and was arrested after being asked "at least five more times" to move behind the taped-off area. Abraham was charged with obstruction of police and obstruction of firefighters. Jones said the woman did not jump. Abraham, 34, is the NFL's active career leader with 114 sacks, including two in the Falcons' 3-0 start. He led the team with 9½ sacks last season and remains a key starter. Abraham, a free agent after last season, signed a three-year, $16.72 million contract to remain with the Falcons. He spent his first six NFL seasons with the New York Jets. He set a career high with 16½ sacks with Atlanta in 2008.