Packers’ Taylor dies at 83

Jim Taylor, the ferocious Hall of Fame fullback who embodied the Green Bay Packers’ unstoppable ground game during the Vince Lombardi era and helped the team win four NFL titles and the first Super Bowl, died Saturday. He was 83.

He died unexpectedly at a hospital in his hometown of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, the team said.

Taylor played on the great Packer teams and was the league’s MVP in 1962. He scored the first rushing touchdown in Super Bowl history and was voted into the Hall in 1976.

Taylor spent 10 seasons in the NFL after being drafted in the second round out of LSU in 1958. He was part of a backfield that featured Paul Hornung and began to thrive when Lombardi took over in 1959.

“He was a gritty, classic player on the Lombardi teams and a key figure of those great championship runs,” Packers President Mark Murphy said.

“One of the best runners of his era, he later was greatly appreciated by multiple generations of Packers fans during his many returns to Lambeau Field with his fellow alumni.”

Lombardi devised the Packers’ “Sweep,” which featured pulling guards Jerry Kramer and Fuzzy Thurston clearing the path for Taylor or Hornung running around the end. The 6-foot, 216-pound Taylor best fulfilled the play’s punishing effectiveness, a workhorse charging forward no matter the surface underneath, dragging would-be tacklers along.

“He taught me lots of character, and virtues, and principles,” Taylor said of Lombardi, with whom he occasionally feuded, in a 2001 interview with the Pro Football Hall of Fame. “He established a caliber of football that he felt like would be championship.”


Showtime announces schedule

The La Crosse Showtime will start their second season with three games on the road.

La Crosse starts its season with a Nov. 3 game at Akron. Then, it’ll play Vipers Pro Basketball and the Illinois Bulldogs on the road.

The Showtime will have their first home game at 7 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 24 against the Kentucky Enforcers at the La Crosse Center.

That Nov. 24 game starts a stretch where the Showtime will play eight of nine games in La Crosse.

The Showtime are on the road throughout February before returning for their season finale at home March 3 against St. Louis.


Kurt Busch leads front sweep

TALLADEGA, Ala. — Kurt Busch led a Stewart-Haas Racing sweep to put all four of the company cars up front at Talladega Superspeedway for a critical playoff race.

Busch turned a lap at 195.804 mph to qualify in the top spot for Sunday’s race. He edged teammate Clint Bowyer, who qualified second, ahead of Kevin Harvick and Aric Almirola as the Ford horsepower built by Doug Yates’ engine shop proved superior in qualifying.

“Four Stewart-Haas Racing Fords up front, I’m just happy I had the fastest one,” said Busch, who won his first career pole at either Daytona or Talladega, the two biggest and fastest tracks in NASCAR.

All four SHR drivers are still part of the 12-driver championship field, which will be trimmed by four following next weekend’s race at Kansas. Almirola and Bowyer are tied for ninth on the playoff grid, barely holding on to transfer positions.

PETERS WINS TRUCK RACE: Timothy Peters bumped leader Noah Gragson out of his way on the final lap at Talladega Superspeedway, then blocked traffic for the final mile to win the Truck Series race Saturday.

It was the 11th victory of Peters’ career and third at Talladega, the most wins at the Alabama track among Truck Series drivers.

“If I kept my head on straight, I knew I had a chance to win,” said Peters, who at 38 years old has been relegated to a partial schedule.


Knicks waive Noah

NEW YORK — The Knicks finally severed ties with Joakim Noah on Saturday afternoon, announcing they have waived the former All-Star after two astoundingly disappointing seasons.

The 33-year-old has been away from the Knicks since January, when he and former coach Jeff Hornacek got into a heated altercation at practice. As it turned out, that moment symbolized the end of Noah’s Knicks career.

Noah signed a four-year, $72 million deal in 2016 and he leaves with $38 million of that remaining. By waiving Noah via the stretch provision, the Knicks are spreading out his remaining salary over more years with less of an annual cap hit. As a result, they are adding almost $13 million in cap space for the summer of 2019. The bad consequence is that they’ll be paying Noah $6.4 million annually until 2022.

The Knicks tried to deal Noah but were unwilling to attach necessary assets like young prospects or draft picks. In the meantime, Noah and the Knicks agreed it was best to stay apart. Coach David Fizdale said he spoke with Noah over the phone in the offseason, but he couldn’t bridge the discord.

Noah totaled 53 games over two seasons with the Knicks, averaging fewer than five points. He had two surgeries and a 20-game PED suspension.

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