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Football Hall of Famer Cortez Kennedy dead at 48

Former University of Miami All-American and a member of the 1989 national championship team Cortez Kennedy, also a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, has died at the age of 48, according to the Orlando Police Department.

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No cause of death has been given to this point.

Orlando police confirmed to ESPN that, “they are investigating Kennedy’s death, but also said ‘there is nothing suspicious to report’ at this time.”

Kennedy went on to play 11 seasons with the Seattle Seahawks from 1990-2000, was named the NFL’s Defensive Player of the Year in 1992 and made eight Pro Bowls.

See the latest on PalmBeachPost.com

Jamel Artis reportedly working out for Sacramento Kings, Los Angeles Lakers, and Houston Rockets ahead of NBA Draft

Pitt guard/forward Jamel Artis is preparing for the NBA Draft. He didn't have a great showing at the NBA Combine, but he will also have plenty of time to impress teams.

Artis has a busy week. On Monday, he reportedly worked out for the Sacramento Kings. Today, he's working out for the Los Angeles Lakers. Tomorrow? The Houston Rockets will get a look.

Artis is probably still a bit of a long shot to be taken in the NBA Draft, which is on June 22nd. But while these teams might not take him with a pick, they could eye him up for a potential summer league spot.

Be sure to join Cardiac Hill's Facebook page and follow us on Twitter@PittPantherBlog for our regular updates on Pitt athletics. Follow the author and founder/editor @AnsonWhaley.

Pitt baseball drops series against Wake Forest to end 2017 season

The Pitt baseball team's season ended over the weekend when the Panthers lost a series to top ten Wake Forest. The team did manage to pull out a 5-4 upset in Game 2 over the No. 19 Demon Deacons but dropped the first game (7-4) and the third one (14-4).

That put the team at 23-30 on the year and gave them their fourth season with a sub-.500 record. Most of the time, the team has been well under .500 - in three of the four seasons, they've finished at least seven games under. Like the softball team, the Panthers will miss the ACC Tournament.

wrote at the beginning of the season that the team needed to show improvement and, well, that didn't happen. The Panthers nearly got to the .500 mark last year (25-26) but regressed this season. To be fair to coach Joe Jordano on this, though, in a lot of ways, that was to be expected.

The team lost five players to the MLB Draft, including first-round pitcher T.J. Zeuch and Charles Leblanc, who was one of the top shortstops in all of college baseball last season. Three other key players were selected as well and the Panthers were in a virtual rebuild.

Still, Pitt was in a position to get to .500 but stumbled badly down the stretch.

First, the Panthers were swept against Georgia Tech - a team that finished a modest 27-26 on the season. After needing extra innings to beat Youngstown State, they were swept by North Carolina State then defeated in a single game by West Virginia. Both teams are solid, but unranked, so not winning even one game there was disappointing. Pitt then dropped two out of three with West Virginia to close out the season.

I don't know that this was so much a bad season with all of the losses they had than just one that was disappointing. The team lost a lot from last year - there's no doubt about it. The ACC schedule is daunting, no doubt. But Pitt still needs to find a way to win more games. No one is (or should be expecting) this team in its current state to go out and win series against ranked ACC teams. But the Panthers were also swept by Louisville, swept by Virginia, swept by Georgia Tech, swept by North Carolina State.

That simply can't happen.

Losing two out of three games isn't ideal because it puts you back in the race for .500 by another game. But you can live with it, right? However, when you lose all three, that puts you three games back. And when you do that four times in a season, well, you get the idea. Getting at least one game out of a series is absolutely critical to teams like Pitt that are scratching and clawing every step of the way.

I don't necessarily need Pitt to win their ACC series right now. That needs to eventually come but the program is still building itself up. This is a tough conference and I get that. Some of those games were competitive but the bottom line is that Pitt can't suffer through so many sweeps. That's simply too much ground to make up for a team that is, at best, one that's about .500.

The Panthers' also need to at least be reaching the ACC Tournament. Even if you're not among the strongest teams in the conference, being one of the weakest shouldn't be an option. 12 teams make the conference tournament (here's this year's bracket, if you're interested) and the Panthers and Virginia Tech were the only schools left out.

Jordano likely will (and probably should) get a bit of a break this season because of how much the team lost. But next year should be a crucial one for him and, at some point, the baseball program needs to take a bigger step forward.

Be sure to join Cardiac Hill's Facebook page and follow us on Twitter@PittPantherBlog for our regular updates on Pitt athletics. Follow the author and founder/editor @AnsonWhaley.

Cardiac Spill: Sheep Game!

I’m bored and sad and want to run a game out of this blog I barely write for. Let’s play the Sheep Game!

Here’s where the preamble about not having written for Cardiac Hill would go if anyone asked. We’re in the Deep Offseason, which is the time for dumb lists, endless season previews, and, apparently, the dissolution of a prestigious basketball program.

But that’s neither here nor there. Let’s play a Sheep Game.

I was introduced to the concept by the Something Awful forums a while back, although other people have apparently played it on cruise ships. I have reproduced the rules here, as written by “Xenophon” ten or so years ago:

The game is not complicated. 1. There will be a list of questions at the bottom of this post. The object of the game is to provide the MOST COMMON response from the people playing the game, kind of like Family Feud. You receive one point for each person who provided the same answer. In other words, if the question was "What is best in life," and 10 players said "To crush your enemies," each of those players would receive 10 points. If 5 players said "The open steppe, fleet horse, falcons at your wrist," they would each receive 5 points. If 1 player said "Hello Kitty," he would receive 1 points (and the public condemnation of his peers). 2. Every question scores points, even if only one. The player with the MOST points, after all the questions are added up, wins the game. 3. There are no right or wrong answers - your job is to provide the MOST COMMON answer. So even if you really, really think that "The open steppe, fleet horse, falcons at your wrist" is best in life, it might still be in your best interest to answer "To crush your enemies." This means that even a factually incorrect answer can score the most points! You have to decide what you think everyone else will say. 4. Some of the questions are vague - intentionally so! It's your job to interpret them as you think the majority will.

Got it? The goal is to give the answer you think everyone else is going to give. I’ll be checking answers for misspellings, same general concept, etc., so that for a question like, for example, “Penn State is what?”, “Terrible” and “Way Terrible” both count in the same group.

Scores and results (the good part) will be posted whenever I think there are enough entries. You may never see scores and results. To ensure that scores and results are posted, share this post. (I’d love to do a general-audience version of this eventually.)

THE QUESTIONS:

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I’ll Venmo the winner $1, maybe. Probably.

Be sure to join Cardiac Hill's Facebook page and follow us on Twitter @PittPantherBlog for our regular updates on Pitt athletics. also @N_THEYSTAYTHERE .

North Carolina in play for Cameron Johnson but Pitt would force him to sit a year first

Former Pitt player Cam Johnson already had a list of potential suitors a mile long. Now, North Carolina is also in the mix for him.

Johnson can transfer to the Tar Heels, but the Panthers would force him to sit a year first.

Count Jay Bilas among the outraged:

No school should restrict the transfer of an unpaid, amateur student for any reason. Period. Pitt is wrong here, and should let Johnson go. pic.twitter.com/QFAa8lE5a9 — Jay Bilas (@JayBilas) May 21, 2017

Personally, I'm a pretty big fan of Bilas. Love his analysis, insight, and generally think he's right on most topics. And he's even been gracious enough to preview some Pitt games in the past for us against Duke and also against Villanova. But the idea that he's specifically calling Pitt out here as if the school is some sort of standalone villain here is kind of amusing given that, well ...

This. Happens. Almost. Everywhere.

Even if Bilas' tweet didn't mean to come off that way, that's the way it sounds. Really, it should be clarified so that he's addressing the larger issue in general.

Bilas didn't stop there, however. He actually sent out another tweet (again, Pitt-specific) asking if the school's players were students or employees:

Restricting Cam Johnson's transfer is the same as a non-compete provision in an employment contract. Pitt athletes: students or employees? pic.twitter.com/YQkpDZAA9i — Jay Bilas (@JayBilas) May 21, 2017

Again, the idea in general may not be a bad one. But by trying to make this specific to the Panthers is where Bilas is wildly wrong. In-conference restrictions are not only allowable, they're commonplace. Right or wrong, that's the widespread environment.

Schools routinely block players from transferring in conference. The ACC doesn't have any such rule but it's pretty standard operating procedure. The idea, really, is that you don't want players giving their new team an advantage against you in head-to-head matchups.

There will undoubtedly be talk about Kevin Stallings previously blocking Sheldon Jeter from coming to Pitt when the pair was at Vanderbilt. But that isn't even remotely the same type of situation since Jeter was going out of conference. Stallings' problem then, it seemed, was that Pitt had talked to Jeter when they shouldn't have. That, in and of itself, is an entirely different issue.

I have no problem with the bigger issue that Bilas wants to raise - removing these kind of transfer restrictions in general. You won't get much argument from me on that even though I do think it opens up some very slippery slopes. In general, though, giving kids more freedom is fine by me. But this idea that this is a new thing and that the Panthers are somehow in uncharted territory here isn't accurate.

At all.

Be sure to join Cardiac Hill's Facebook page and follow us on Twitter@PittPantherBlog for our regular updates on Pitt athletics. Follow the author and founder/editor @AnsonWhaley.

Cloud Computing wins in upset at 2017 Preakness Stakes

Cloud Computing won the 142nd Preakness Stakes Saturday on a fast track at Pimilico Race Course.

Kentucky Derby winner Always Dreaming fought for the lead with Classic Empire from the start of the race.

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However, Cloud Computing came from behind at the end to take the win in 1:55.98. 

Always Dreaming faded to eighth. Classic Empire was second and Senior Investment third.

This was the fourth start for Cloud Computing, who did not race at the Derby. The horse was a 13-1 long shot to win. 

Rain that fell Friday and muddied the main track dried and was fast by the time the Preakness went off around 6:48 p.m. 

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Photos: 2017 Preakness Stakes

NBA star Enes Kanter detained at airport, says Turkish government canceled passport

An Oklahoma City Thunder basketball star was briefly detained by Romanian airport authorities after the Turkish government reportedly canceled his passport.

Thunder center Enes Kanter posted a video on Twitter Saturday morning saying he was being held by police at an airport in Romania.

Kanter said the Turkish government canceled his passport, claiming that officials made the move because of his political views.

>> Read more trending news

Kanter went on to call Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan the "Hitler of our century," referencing a recent visit to the U.S. during which Turkish presidential guards were caught on video violently breaking up a protest in Washington, D.C.

The guards were held briefly and then released after the incident in the nation’s capital, prompting outcry from many across the country.

Kanter concluded the video by promising updates and asking for prayers.

According to the NBA, the 25-year-old has been with the Thunder since 2014. Before that, he played for the Utah Jazz.

Kanter was the only Thunder player to appear in all 82 regular season games in the 2015-2016 season.

In March, Kanter and teammate Steven Adams caught the attention of web users after they appeared in a video calling Russell Westbrook "King of the Prairie."

A New York Times sports reporter tweeted Saturday afternoon that Kanter had been released by authorities and was on his way to London. 

George W. Bush photobombs sports reporter

Former President George W. Bush is enjoying his retirement, and doesn’t mind having some fun at a reporter’s expense.

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Bush was while enjoying a Texas Rangers game against the Philadelphia Phillies at Globe Life Ballpark in Arlington on Wednesday night. As he returned from a concession stand, Bush walked behind Fox Sports reporter Emily Jones, who was doing a standup segment. Bush looked into the camera and shouted “Hey” before returning to his seat.

Call it a presidential photobomb.

After Jones finished her segment, she walked over to Bush and asked if he had photobombed her, Time reported.

“Yep, I sure did,” Bush said.

"He's obviously very playful and likes to joke around. I can't even tell you what a nice man he is," Jones told Time, adding that he often asks her about her children.

Bush watched Wednesday's game from the dugout suite, which was first designed to accommodate his father, former President George H.W. Bush, and Secret Service agents, Jones said.

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