Fujita returns to New Orleans

Potkey: Fujita makes emotional return to New Orleans

Posted October 4, 2011 at 4:42 p.m

Scott Fujita honors a former teammate, Jack Wilson’s inglorious streak continues and Corey Pavin changes his swing via email.

Local players and coaches are making news beyond the county lines. Here’s what being said and done

Cleveland Browns linebacker Scott Fujita asked for some time off last Monday for a very good cause.

The Rio Mesa High graduate wanted to fly to New Orleans to present a former Saints teammate with a Super Bowl ring.

Steve Gleason recently revealed he was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also know as Lou Gehrig’s disease.

Five years ago, Gleason authored one of the most famous plays in Saints history by blocking a punt against the Atlanta Falcons during the official reopening of the Louisiana Superdome in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

Fujita and 16 other former Saints teammates surprised Gleason with his ring during a private ceremony, and Saints head coach Sean Patyon made the presentation.

Fujita organized the event with Gleason’s wife, and received approval from the Browns to take the day off months ago.

“It was a very emotional couple of days,” Fujita told reporters. “When he first called me in January a day after the diagnosis, a wave of emotions just ran through me knowing what he’s about to go through. I lost my Uncle Dale 15 years ago, so I know firsthand how cruel this disease is. But (Gleason’s) perspective helps us all.”

Darrell Scott is taking the Roger Clemens approach to his new start at the University of South Florida. The redshirt junior running back does not want to talk about the past. The Denver Post requested to interview Scott, but the St. Bonaventure High graduate declined because “he’d prefer to continue focusing on the future.”

Scott signed with the University of Colorado as a five-star recruit out of high school, but never lived up to the hype. He left midway through his sophomore season and eventually transferred to USF.

USF head coach Skip Holtz isn’t a big fan of the recruiting rankings.

“It puts unfair expectations on a 17- or 18-year-old young man,” Holtz told the Post. “When they come to college, they still have a lot of work to do. I’ve really been impressed with Darrell’s work habits. I don’t know what he was at Colorado or what the perception of him was. He’s impressed the coaching staff. He’s earned respect of his teammates for the way he’s come in here, closed his mouth and worked every single day.”

Charlie Wi and Corey Pavin found themselves at the top of the leader board for one round at different golf tournaments last week.

Wi, a Westlake High graduate, was tied for the lead after 36 holes at the Justin Timberlake Shriners Hospitals for Children Open in Las Vegas. But Wi shot a 72 and 67 in his final rounds to finish tied for 16th.

“I’ve had a pretty up-and-down this year, and I want to go out with a bang, make sure my game is ready for next year,” Wi told PGA.com “And you know, I worked really hard the last three weeks, so I want to see how — I want to perform well for myself the next three weeks, and you know, I want to carry that into 2012.”

Pavin, an Oxnard High graduate, led after one round at the Champion Tour’s SAS Championship, but finished tied for 18th.

Following his tournament-opening 7-under 65, Pavin told reporters he made an electronic swing change. Pavin spoke with his swing coach Greg LaBelle, who made suggestions to Pavin after watching his swing via email.

“I worked on it the last couple of days, and I made some changes,” Pavin said. “I really felt a lot more comfortable on the golf course today than I have in a long time. I did some work on my putter as well, and that was better.”

Former Boston Red Sox manager Terry Francona may not have been able to reach his players anymore, but Jessica Mendoza was listening this season.

Mendoza, a Camarillo High graduate, made her professional baseball debut as a sideline reporter for ESPN when the Red Sox played the Texas Rangers.

The softball star said the moment she knew she belonged was when she met Francona, who resigned from the Red Sox last week.

“He has two daughters who played softball at UNC, and he follows the sport and knew about me and some of my Olympic teammates,” Mendoza wrote on espnw.com.

“When we were in-game and I was in my reporter spot next to the dugout, looking and listening for information I could share on air, Terry Francona was peeking through the side of the dugout looking for me! He was curious about my approach as a hitter, the types of pitchers I preferred facing and what I felt my biggest assets as a player were. After going back and forth with questions, I realized there was very little difference between the way I play the game and the way most of the guys on the field play. I felt like I was at home.”

It’s a list Jack Wilson seemed destined to finally escape this season until the Atlanta Braves collapsed in the final month of the season.

Among active players, Wilson, a Thousand Oaks High graduate and Oxnard College product, remains No. 3 for most games played without a postseason appearance.

Wilson (1,330 games) is behind only Adam Dunn (1,570) and Vernon Wells (1,524) as players who have never tasted the playoffs, according to baseballreference.com,

Wilson, who just completed his 11th season, started his career with the Pittsburgh Pirates before being traded to the Seattle Mariners in 2009. The Mariners traded the infielder to the Braves on Aug. 31 of this season.

Wilson is a free agent in 2012.

Rhiannon Potkey is a reporter at The Star. She can be reached by email at rpotkey@vcstar.com or by phone at 805-437-0282.

Read more: http://www.vcstar.com/news/2011/oct/04/fujita-makes-emotional-return-to-new-orleans/#ixzz1ZwwwTAoL
– vcstar.com


Filed in: Press Room • Wednesday, October 5th, 2011

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Scott Fujita

Scott Fujita was born in Ventura, California on April 28, 1979. He was a three-sport standout at Rio Mesa High School in Oxnard, CA before heading to the University of California, Berkeley, where he graduated with Honors in Political Science and earned a Masters degree in Education.

Fujita has played in the NFL for the Kansas City Chiefs, Dallas Cowboys, New Orleans Saints and Cleveland Browns. Read more