Joe Shearin Jersey Store

Billy Beale didn’t stay away for long.

Less than two years after retiring as CEO of Union Bank & Trust, Beale has stepped back into a chief executive role – this time in an interim capacity at Community Bankers Bank, a struggling Midlothian-based institution.

Beale’s been tasked with righting the ship at CBB, which is one of only about a dozen so-called bankers banks remaining in the country. Such institutions have a niche business model, with smaller community banks as both their customers and shareholders.

“This bank isn’t performing as well as some of the others, and some (CBB) board members that are friends asked me to come help them – and that’s what I intend to do,” Beale said.

Billy Beale

His first day on the job was Thursday and he replaces Howard Pisons, who had been with CBB since 2002 and was CEO since 2014. Beale said he’s signed on for an initial six-month period.

Joe Shearin, a member of the CBB board and CEO of Sonabank, said consolidation in the banking industry overall, particularly among community banks, has affected the bankers bank business model.

“The industry is shrinking, so its customer base is shrinking,” Shearin said of CBB. “When community banks merge and get bigger, they might not need a bankers bank as much. There’s a finite amount of customers.”

Steady, substantial profitability has been hard to come by for CBB in recent years.

It turned a profit of $335,000 in 2016, fell to a loss of $361,000 in 2017 and is in the black by $140,000 through the first three quarters of 2018.

This comes during a period of steady profit and growth for most banks, at least in central Virginia.

Its deposit base also has been shrinking. It had $109 million in deposits as of Sept. 30, down from a peak of $142 million in 2013.

Shearin said Beale’s experience growing Union from a small rural bank to among the largest regional banks based in Virginia – it was just shy of $10 billion before he retired in early 2017 and since has surpassed $13 billion – is why the board reached out to try to lure him back into the business, at least temporarily.

“We’ve got to look at a strategy and a global picture,” Shearin said. “That’s where Billy comes in – to help us run it and get the ship right and (determine) what’s our next step.”

Bankers banks act as correspondents to mostly smaller banks, helping connect its customers to go in on loans together that are too large to do on their own, and providing investment services, among other services.

CBB was founded in the mid-1980s as Virginia Bankers Bank, serving smaller banks in a time of expansion of interstate banking. It changed its name in the ’90s when it expanded its territory to Federal Reserve’s fifth district, which covers Virginia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Maryland, West Virginia and Washington, D.C.

Bankers banks are owned by their customer banks. CBB, for example, has Union and Sonabank as shareholders. But illustrating how consolidation has changed CBB, one of its current shareholders is PNC Bank, a massive bank out of the northeast that received CBB shares as a result of acquisitions.

To prepare for the new role, Beale said he resigned from Union’s board of directors to clear up any potential conflicts of interest, as Union is one of the largest shareholders of CBB.

He said his initial plan of action at CBB is to help the bank find ways win more customers and business.

Beale said he was enjoying retirement, as he took three trips to Europe, and spent time with his grandkids and at the river. But he’s also excited about the challenge involved in the CBB gig.

“I would not have come seeking the challenge, but it’s kind of fun,” he said. “It’s fun to take over a bank that’s struggling and see what I can do with it.”

Zach Miller Jersey Store

FLINTON — Zach Miller poured in a game-high 21 points to lift Bellwood-Antis to a 76-35 Inter-County Conference North Division rout over Glendale Tuesday night in boys high school basketball action.

Bellwood improved to 3-1 while Glendale (2-1) lost for the first time.

Troy Walker contributed 14 points and Zach Mallon delivered 11 for the Blue Devils.

Ryan Sinclair fronted the Vikings with nine points.

GLENDALE (35): Cree 1 1-2 3, Jasper 2 0-1 4, Jackson 3 2-2 8, Krepps 0 0-0 0, Monahan 1 0-0 3, Pennington 0 0-0 0, Sinclair 4 2-4 10, Lo. Smeal 3 0-1 7, La. Smeal 0 0-2 0, Spencer 0 0-0 0. Totals — 14 5-12 35.

BELWOOD-ANTIS (76) Gibbons 1 3-5 5, Walker 5 4-6 14, Z. Mallon 3 4-7 11, Pelligrino 2 0-0 5, Z. Miller 9 2-4 21, S. Mallon 4 0-0 8, Morris 2 0-0 4, Truis 2 0-0 5, Mercer 1 0-0 3. Totals — 29 13-22 76.

SCORE BY QUARTERS

Bellwood-Antis 17 21 18 20 — 76

Glendale 6 4 14 11 — 35

3-point goals: Glendale 2 (Monahan, Lo. Smeal); Bellwood-Antis 5 (Z. Mallon, Pelligrino, Truis, Mercer, Z. Miller).

Records: Glendale (2-1); Bellwood-Antis (3-1).

JV: Bellwood-Antis 48, Glendale 30: High scorers — Beiswenger, Mercer, D. Miller, Morris, BA, 8 each; Jasper, Krepps, Monahan, G, 10, apiece.

Williamsburg 79

Saint Joseph’s 42

BOALSBURG — Peanut Wansley scored 12 points, and Lambert Palmer, Adam Uplinger and Jared McCall each scored 11 points as Williamsburg defeated Saint Joseph’s.

The Blue Pirates, who led 18-2 after one quarter of play, won their third game of the year, matching last season’s win total.

SAINT JOSEPH’S (42): Scanlon 7 4-9 18, Bevilacqua 1 0-0 2, Cross, A. 4 0-0 9, Dawson 1 1-2 3, Peters 2 3-4 8, Thomas 1 0-0 2. Totals–14 8-15 42.

WILLIAMSBURG (79): Dowey 3 0-1 6, Wansley 5 1-5 12, Palmer 5 1-1 11, Hileman 3 0-2 9, McCall J. 4 3-4 11, Uplinger 4 3-3 11, Kagarise 0 0-0 0, McCall W. 4 0-1 8, Frew 0 0-0 0, James D. 2 0-0 4, Kunsman 0 0-0 0, Brantner S. 0 3-4 3, Woodruff 1 0-0 2, James A. 0 0-0 0, Brantner A. 0 0-0 0. Totals–29 11-20 79.

SCORE BY QUARTERS

Williamsburg 18 24 17 19 — 79

St. Joseph’s 2 17 17 6 — 42

3-point goals: St. Joseph’s Academy 1 (Cross); Williamsburg 4 (Wansley, Hileman 4)

Records: St. Joseph’s Academy (0-5); Williamsburg (3-2; 2-0 ICC North)

JV: Williamsburg 56-34: High scorers–Summers, SJ, 10; Kagarise, W, 15

Portage 80

Rockwood 43

ROCKWOOD — Portage defeated Rockwood behind 21 points from Demetrius Miller.

Kaden Claar and Andrew Miko each scored 14 points for the undefeated Mustangs (3-0), who led 46-14 at halftime.

PORTAGE (80): Zatek 2 0-0 4, K. Kargo 0 0-0 0, Claar 5 4-4 14, Miller 10 1-2 21, M. Kargo 5 0-0 11, Miko 6 2-2 14, Gouse 3 0-0 8, Lawrence 3 0-0 6, Dobrowolsky 0 0-0 0, Scarton 1 0-0 2. Totals–34 7-8 80

ROCKWOOD (43): Bluebaugh 1 0-0 2, Boden 2 0-2 4, Bowman 7 1-1 19, Foy 1 1-2 4, Latuch 4 0-0 10, Schrock 1 0-0 2, Hutchinson 1 0-0 2. Totals–17 2-5 43.

SCORE BY QUARTERS

Portage 27 19 22 12 — 80

Rockwood 5 9 9 20 — 43

3-point goals: Portage 3 (M. Kargo, Gouse 2); Rockwood 7 (Bowman 4, Latuch 2, Foy)

Records: Portage (3-0)

JV: Portage, 50-30. High scorer–Gouse, P, 16

Central Dauphin 68

Altoona 51

HARRISBURG — K.J. Futrell (15), Caleb Pierce (15) and Jeremiah Crocket (10) each scored in double figures, but Altoona was outscored in each quarter of a loss to Central Dauphin.

Donovan Hill led Central Dauphin with 14 points in a game it led, 35-23, at halftime.

ALTOONA (51): Becker 2 0-0 6, Pierce 5 2-2 15, Futrell 4 7-13 15, Crockett 4 1-3 10, Cornelius 0 0-0 0, Corso 0 1-2 1, Lawson 0 0-0 0, Pheasant 0 1-2 1, Petucci 0 0-0 0, Lestochi 0 0-0 0, Muffie 1 0-0 3. Totals–16 12-22 51

CENTRAL DAUPHIN (68): Smith 2 2-2 6, Russo 3 4-4 11, Dockens 1 1-1 3, Haggans 4 2-2 10, Hill 5 4-8 14, Renaldi 2 1-2 7, Fuller 1 6-6 8, Roberts 2 0-0 4, Easter 1 3-4 5, Harford 0 0-0 0. Totals–21 23-28 68

SCORE BY QUARTERS

Altoona 13 10 9 19 — 51

Central Dauphin 18 17 13 20 — 68

3-point goals: Altoona 7 (Pierce 3, Becker 2, Crockett, Muffie); Central Dauphin 3 (Renaldi 2, Russo)

Records: Altoona (2-4, 1-2 in Mid Penn); Central Dauphin (3-1, 2-0 in Mid Penn).

JV: Central Dauphin, 79-49 . High scorers–Pheasant, A, 15, Mosey, CD, 17

Blair Christian 56

H. Christian 35

DUNCANSVILLE — Jonathan Hight made history for Blair County Christian, scoring the 1,000th point of his career in a win over Huntingdon Christian.

Hight finished with 18 points to become only the second player in school history to reach the milestone.

Davis Dull added 16 points and teammate Hudson Dull added 10 as the Bobcats improved to 7-1.

BLAIR COUNTY CHRISTIAN (56): Cowart 0 0-0 0, H. Dull 4 2-2 10, Hight 8 2-4 18, C. Dull 1 1-2 3, Sease 0 0-0 0, D. Dull 5 5-5 16, Hartman 3 0-0 9, Ebersole 0-0 0, Andre 0 0-0 0, A. Dull 0 0-0 0, Nagle 0 0-0 0, Ca. Dull 0 0-0 0. Totals 21 10-14 56

HUNTINGDON CHRISTIAN (35): B. Peachey 0 0-2 0, Ginther 5 1-2 11, McCarty 6 0-2 12, O. Peachey 3 2-4 9, Sipes 0 0-0 0, Harven 1 0-0 3. Totals: 15 3-10 35.

SCORE BY QUARTERS

Blair Christian 13 14 16 13 — 56

Huntingdon Christian 15 6 9 5 — 35

3-point goals: BCC 4 (D. Dull, Hartman 3); Huntingdon Christian 2 (Harven, O. Peachey)

Records: Huntingdon Christian (3-2), Blair County Christian (7-1)

Derrick Williams Jersey Store

After a highly praised one-year stint with Bayern Munich, versatile forward Derrick Williams stayed in Europe for another season.

This time it was Turkish powerhouse Fenerbahce that lured him to Istanbul. The five consecutive Euroleague Final Fours, the presence of Zelimir Obradovic, the winningest coach in European basketball’s history, in addition to an omnipotent roster with the likes of Nando De Colo, Kostas Sloukas, Luigi Datome and Jan Vesely presented a unique case for the 28-year-old to flourish overseas once again.

Halfway through the 2019-2020 season, Williams is averaging 11.4 points and 4.4 rebounds in about 28 minutes and 14 international games. Despite being on a team that aims high, those numbers haven’t helped Fenerbahce claim more than five wins in Euroleague action so far. The 5-9 balance is the worst ever for the 2017 continental champions, which means that the Final Four seems to be a rather far-fetched goal at the moment.

Panathinaikos OPAP dealt another blow to Fener at the empty OAKA Arena in Athens, Greece (81-78). Derrick Williams, accompanied by Luigi Datome, was the last man to exit the visitors’ locker-room and before stepping into the bus, the 2nd overall pick in the 2011 NBA Draft answered a few questions for TalkBasket.net.

To begin with, Williams was asked about the way for Fener to get out of the dead end, evident in the Euroleague standings and the bad performances: “I mean, it’s tough. Right now, there’s still a couple of guys injured. We just got to be a little bit better. The third quarter (against Panathinaikos) killed us again. It’s been like that for a few games this season. Maybe half of them in the Turkish League and the Euroleague we’ve been really bad in the third quarter. So, that’s the game, right there”.

Being a free agent last summer and having played seven years in the NBA meant that many offers would arrive at his door. Did NBA teams show any interest before he moved to Turkey? “Yes, they did. I had a few NBA offers, but I thought that this was the right decision. Even though we’re not playing well right now, it still was the right thing for me and my career, to try help this team win”.

In the light of Shane Larkin’s recent case with the Turkish National Team and drawing on other US players’ example, Derrick Williams admits that obtaining a European passport would not be a bad idea after all. By doing that, he could even get a taste of the Olympic Games. “Yeah, I’ve always thought about that. I think that playing in the Olympics while being overseas is sometimes very tough. You see guys from America on other teams playing for other countries. So, why not? I think it would be good”.

Euroleague competition this year seems to be more fierce than ever before: “I think it’s better than last season, from top to bottom. Even though right now we’re struggling, no matter which team you’re playing, it’s always going to be a tough match”.

Many NBAers have difficulties adjusting to the new environment. Wesley Johnson, an ex-teammate of Williams at the Minnesota Timberwolves, is perhaps one of the most telling examples. The key to making it overseas, according to the latter, is “to have an open mind, regardless of which country you go to. Just be open and try to stick with it. I think it’s tough with a lot of rule changes and things like that. It’s much different from America in a lot of these countries. You just got to keep focused, keep your head and embrace the culture wherever country you’re in”.

As our time with him was running out, Derrick Williams had no answer regarding his presence in Europe long-term and given the fact that his deal with Fener is for one year: “I don’t really want to comment on that. I don’t know yet. Anything is possible”, he replied.

Larry Baker Jersey Store

There will not be a bowl game in Syracuse football fan’s Christmas stocking this year. The Orange, despite high expectations this summer, struggled to a 5-7 record and a disappointing sixth-place finish in the ACC Atlantic division. To fill the void, we are looking back at Syracuse’s greatest football triumph, the 1959 national championship, on what would be the 60th anniversary of that team.

Today, it’s Syracuse’s other star running back that season, Art Baker’s big day.

***
In football, a fullback’s job is largely a thankless one.

It is the fullback’s role to open holes for the star halfback, who rushes for big yards and glorious touchdowns.

Few schools have produced as many great fullbacks as Syracuse — Jim Nance, Larry Csonka, Daryl Johnston and Rob Konrad were some of the greats.

When one thinks about the mighty offensive backfield of the 1959 Syracuse University national champion football team, most think of Ernie Davis.

And while Davis, who would the Heisman Trophy two years later, led the team in rushing, a lot of credit belongs to his fullback Art Baker.

Baker ran for 507 yards and cleared the way for Ernie Davis’ 686 yards and Gerald Schwedes’ 567.

Teammates called Baker a “tough son of a gun.”

But on Oct. 10, 1959, against Navy, Baker emerged from his more famous teammates’ shadows and had a day in the spotlight, scoring on both offense and defense.

The game was played in Norfolk, Virginia, and SU’s Baker, Davis and John Brown would be the first African Americans to play at the city’s Oyster Bowl.

With Syracuse leading 7-0 in the second quarter, Navy had driven to the Syracuse eight-yard-line. They tried a pass play, but Art Baker was ready.

He intercepted the pass at the three and returned it back 97 yards for a game-breaking score.

“By the time he reached the Syracuse 40, all hope had died,” the Post-Standard remembered, “and Baker was just high-stepping all the way, his closest pursuers being protective mates.”

In the second half, he carried two Midshipmen across the goal line for another touchdown.

Baker’s performance would win him the game’s MVP, the Blassingame Trophy.

In 1959, Baker became the first athlete to ever win a team sport and individual sport championship in the same school year.

Besides football, he was also the 191-pound NCAA wrestling champion.

Jerome Davis Jersey Store

The next time that you take a drive down a city street, or use a drinking fountain, try to stop and take a moment to think.

Remember, if just for a second, that all of the things we take for granted every day had to be built by someone.

There was a time when our roads, sewer systems, electric lines and public infrastructure simply did not exist.

They were constructed by dedicated workers, who also go about their business maintaining and fixing problems in perpetuity.

Most of us tend to only notice when something goes wrong, which most of the time, it doesn’t.

That is thanks to the work of people like Jerome Davis, who has been an employee of the Jamestown Public Works Department for over 30 years and will be retiring after the New Year.

“I went to Jamestown high school and graduated in 1982,” Davis said.

“That is how I got a job here as a college student, part-time. I loved what I was doing and wanted to stay.”

Like many of his colleagues, Davis got started out on labor crew and set to work with his team working on transportation projects.

Thanks to the winter weather enjoyed here in the Southern Tier, there is never a shortage of work to be done on city streets.

“In the springtime we have a lot of work to do usually,” Davis said. “I was on a patching crew and went to the paving crew from there. Then I was in skilled labor for many years on the big pipe construction crew. I did heavy equipment for a year or so and then I became a boss. I have been a boss for 16 or 17 years now on a big construction crew.”

Working his way up the ladder, starting as a part-time crewman and eventually become a labor foreman, Davis has picked up a few lessons along the way.

In his early years, he noticed what the successful bosses did, how they carried themselves and treated the people that worked under them. Now, he has a chance to put those lessons to work.

“They took pride in their work. That is what we were taught by the guys before us and that is what we try to teach now,” Davis said.

Over the years, the biggest changes in the public works department have come from technology.

New materials and equipment enter the fold to make work easier, hopefully, but when the rubber meets the road there still need to be people like Davis to get the job done.

Right now there are no specific retirement plans on the book for the longtime DPW leader, maybe just a vacation.

“It has been 35 years, I’m just going to relax for a bit and see how it goes,” he said.

Ross Sorce Jersey Store

Arrangements have been made for Youbens Joseph, a married father of three who was gunned down at his West Nyack auto shop.

A wake is set for 7 to 9 p.m. on Friday at French Speaking Baptist Church at 80 N. Madison Ave. in Spring Valley, and a funeral service will be held there at 9 a.m. Saturday, according to Joseph W. Sorce Funeral Home in West Nyack.

Joseph will be buried at 11:30 a.m. Saturday at Brick Church Cemetery at 220 Brick Church Road in Spring Valley.

YOUBENS JOSEPH: Family mourns ‘kind, trusting person’

WEST NYACK: Auto shop owner shot; gunman fled

FATAL: West Nyack auto shop owner dies from shooting

ARREST: Police nab suspect in West Nyack auto shop shooting

“We’re all mourning,” Joseph’s wife, Keren Joseph, said through tears after a press conference on Thursday at the Clarkstown police station, where authorities announced an arrest in the case. “He loves his family so much.”

Joseph, a 37-year-old native of Haiti who lived in Middletown in Orange County, was killed in what Clarkstown police said was a dispute with a customer at his store, Youbs Auto Sales.

There was an ongoing issue over payment for a car that Joseph sold to Eric Hue Ross Jr. in July, police said. Around 3:15 p.m. on Nov. 25, Ross shot Joseph at the shop at 357 Route 59 and fled, police said.

Ross, a 24-year-old resident of Wilmington, Delaware, who had been living in Rockland County, went on the run, police said. Joseph was taken to Westchester Medical Center and died the next day.

Family members of Youbens Joseph, including his brother, Enix Joseph, daughter, Kaelah, 7, brother Nixon Joseph and wife, Keren Joseph, attend a press conference at Clarkstown Police headquarters in New City Nov. 29, 2018. Joseph was murdered at his auto business in West Nyack on Nov. 24, 2018Buy Photo
Family members of Youbens Joseph, including his brother, Enix Joseph, daughter, Kaelah, 7, brother Nixon Joseph and wife, Keren Joseph, attend a press conference at Clarkstown Police headquarters in New City Nov. 29, 2018. Joseph was murdered at his auto business in West Nyack on Nov. 24, 2018 (Photo: Peter Carr/The Journal News)

Police spotted Ross’ Hyundai Sonata in Pennsylvania and arrested him at a relative’s home there four days after the shooting. He is being held in Pennsylvania until he is extradited to New York to face felony charges of second-degree murder and first-degree criminal use of a firearm.

Joseph was born in Port-au-Prince and moved to the United States in 1999, according to his obituary. He spent 14 years working for C&S Wholesale Grocers, a supply chain company in the food industry, according to his obituary.

Joseph opened Youbs Auto Sales in 2012 and took it on as a full-time job this year.

Joseph is survived by his wife, Keren Denis Joseph; children, Kherbens, Korry Ruebens and Kaelah; 10 siblings; and many nieces and nephews.

Joseph Jones Jersey Store

LOUDOUN COUNTY, Va. – The Washington Redskins Charitable Foundation announced today that Ocean Lakes High School (Virginia Beach, Va.) head football coach Joseph Jones has been named the Redskins High School Coach of the Year presented by Inova Sports Medicine. In his fourth year as the head football coach, Jones led the Ocean Lakes Dolphins to a 7-3 regular season record. The Dolphins made a playoff run that ended in the semifinals with a 36-6 loss.

Jones’ philosophy for the Dolphins this season was to be “All-In.” This mentality involved complete commitment between the players and the coaches. Coach Jones understood that achieving this would be difficult, but necessary. The Dolphins were short on individual talent this season, so Jones knew he would need something more from the team as a whole if they were to make a run for the title. The team would need to be “All-In.”

Coach Jones’ personal interest in his players helped him lead his team this season to have such success. Ocean Lakes High School Athletic Director John Williams said, “Jones goes beyond the X’s and O’s on the field. He has helped create a family atmosphere which has caused the kids on the team to gel together.” This family atmosphere is shown not only on the field by Coach Jones, but also through his school spirit. Williams said, “Coach Jones is one of the biggest cheerleaders we have. He is all in with Spirit Day, coming in a costume or whatever it is, he is all-in with the kids at the school.”

Jones Jones, Ocean Lakes

Joe Jones knows there is more for his student-athletes than football and helps his players know that true character is more important than winning football games. Coach Jones emulates great character, and it shows through his leadership style. Jones surrounds himself with other good people. He is a rare mix of a great general manager and a coach. He has complete trust in his coaches and what they choose to do with their team responsibilities. When Jones is with the team, he is a soft spoken man with a powerful message. He gets the message across without yelling or screaming. He treats his athletes like adults, causing respect to be given from both the players and the coaches.

As part of his character, Jones has done a great job with keeping the level of playing on the field clean. His players are very fundamentally oriented with the way they tackle and play the game. Safety is a priority for him and for the Dolphins.

“Coach Jones makes sure things get done the right way,” said Williams. “This is part of what makes Coach Jones the great man he is and helps him make great men both on and off the field.”

As a result of his Coach of the Year selection, Jones will be nominated for the 2019 Don Shula NFL High School Coach of the Year award and will be invited to Orlando for the Pro Bowl in January.

The Redskins Charitable Foundation will highlight all 2019 award winners and selection committee members with a pre-game ceremony on Sunday, December 22 before the start of the Redskins vs. Giants game at FedExField.

About Redskins High School Coach of the Week presented by Inova Sports Medicine

The High School Coach of the Week program is a league-wide initiative designed to recognize area high school football coaches who continuously demonstrate hard work and dedication to their football programs, the health and safety of their players, and who make a difference in their communities.

This season, in partnership with Inova Sports Medicine, the Redskins Charitable Foundation has convened a panel of local high school football media experts and high school athletic association representatives to provide nominations of deserving high school coaches for consideration and selection. Each coach chosen throughout the high school football season will receive a $2,000 donation from the Redskins Charitable Foundation to their football program and will be invited to a special event at the end of the season to provide additional resources and training to recipients and their coaching staff.

For more information on the Redskins High School Coach of the Week program or the Washington Redskins Charitable Foundation

Mike Wallace Jersey Store

GLENDALE, AZ – JANUARY 10: Kicker Neil Rackers #1 of the Arizona Cardinals attempts a game winning field goal against the Green Bay Packers during the fourth quarter of the 2010 NFC wild-card playoff game at University of Phoenix Stadium on January 10, 2010 in Glendale, Arizona. Rackers missed the attempt, sending the game in to overtime. (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
Jeff Gross/Getty Images
After eight years in a Texans uniform, kicker Kris Brown’s days in Houston may be numbered.

This week the Texans announced the signing of 33-year-old veteran kicker Neil Rackers to a two-year, $4.1 million contract.

Rackers reached the end of his deal with Arizona and became a free agent this offseason when the Cardinals brought in Jay Feely to handle the team’s placekicking duties.

Brown says he wasn’t surprised by the move.

“I figured they were going to bring some competition in. It wasn’t surprising,” Brown told Fox Sports Houston. “That’s the nature of this league.”

The only kicker in Texans franchise history, Brown is coming off his worst statistical season as a Pro.

He completed 65.6 percent of his field goals (21 of 32) and converted 43 of 44 PATs in a forgettable 2009 campaign. Brown has a career field goal percentage of 77.3 percent in 11 seasons with the Steelers and Texans and has never been named to the Pro Bowl.

Rackers, by way of comparison, converted 16 of 17 field goal attempts (94.1 percent) and 37 of 38 PATs for the Cardinals in 2009. He has a career field goal percentage of 78.2 percent in 10 seasons with the Bengals and Cardinals.

Rackers set an NFL record in 2005 by successfully converting 40 of 42 field goals and was named to the 2006 Pro Bowl.

I’m excited,” Rackers told MyFoxHouston. “I’m a midwestern guy. It’s nice to be back around good people. It’s an opportunity to be a part of what I think is a team headed in the right direction. I’ll bring them a positive attitude and a hard worker.”

“Kris Brown is an excellent kicker, a guy I have a lot of respect for and has accomplished a lot in this league as well. I’m just here to compete and have a good time,” said Rackers.
Mike Wallace Jersey Store

If there’s a bright side for Brown, it’s that only $350,000 of Rackers’ two-year deal is guaranteed. That should help ensure a truly open competition at training camp.

Neil Rackers Jersey Store

GLENDALE, AZ – JANUARY 10: Kicker Neil Rackers #1 of the Arizona Cardinals attempts a game winning field goal against the Green Bay Packers during the fourth quarter of the 2010 NFC wild-card playoff game at University of Phoenix Stadium on January 10, 2010 in Glendale, Arizona. Rackers missed the attempt, sending the game in to overtime. (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
Jeff Gross/Getty Images
After eight years in a Texans uniform, kicker Kris Brown’s days in Houston may be numbered.

This week the Texans announced the signing of 33-year-old veteran kicker Neil Rackers to a two-year, $4.1 million contract.

Rackers reached the end of his deal with Arizona and became a free agent this offseason when the Cardinals brought in Jay Feely to handle the team’s placekicking duties.

Brown says he wasn’t surprised by the move.

“I figured they were going to bring some competition in. It wasn’t surprising,” Brown told Fox Sports Houston. “That’s the nature of this league.”

The only kicker in Texans franchise history, Brown is coming off his worst statistical season as a Pro.

He completed 65.6 percent of his field goals (21 of 32) and converted 43 of 44 PATs in a forgettable 2009 campaign. Brown has a career field goal percentage of 77.3 percent in 11 seasons with the Steelers and Texans and has never been named to the Pro Bowl.

Rackers, by way of comparison, converted 16 of 17 field goal attempts (94.1 percent) and 37 of 38 PATs for the Cardinals in 2009. He has a career field goal percentage of 78.2 percent in 10 seasons with the Bengals and Cardinals.

Rackers set an NFL record in 2005 by successfully converting 40 of 42 field goals and was named to the 2006 Pro Bowl.

I’m excited,” Rackers told MyFoxHouston. “I’m a midwestern guy. It’s nice to be back around good people. It’s an opportunity to be a part of what I think is a team headed in the right direction. I’ll bring them a positive attitude and a hard worker.”

“Kris Brown is an excellent kicker, a guy I have a lot of respect for and has accomplished a lot in this league as well. I’m just here to compete and have a good time,” said Rackers.

If there’s a bright side for Brown, it’s that only $350,000 of Rackers’ two-year deal is guaranteed. That should help ensure a truly open competition at training camp.

Shawn Loiseau Jersey Store

SHREWSBURY — Being in the midst of the action rather than on the periphery is where Shawn Loiseau wants to be when it comes to football.

So after missing three games and the past five weeks recovering from multiple injuries, the veteran linebacker and vocal team captain was refreshed, ready and — most of all — raring to return to the field when the Massachusetts Pirates meet the Orlando Predators on Saturday night in Florida.

“I’m excited to get out there and play again for sure,” Loiseau said last week during a break from work at Undisputed Nutrition, the business he owns on Route 9 here in his hometown.

“I miss it. You know how I feel about football, so watching from the sidelines has sucked. But I’m excited to be back now, to be healthy and stay healthy because the rest of the season is a pretty tough stretch for us.”

The 6-foot-1, 244-pound Loiseau was the Massachusetts Defensive Player of the Year as a senior at Shrewsbury High in 2007, and a two-time All-American at Merrimack College before signing with the Indianapolis Colts (twice) and Houston Texans in the NFL.

Loiseau, 29, has played indoor football in Los Angeles, South Dakota, Nebraska, and, since last season, Worcester. A pair of severe injuries limited him to three regular-season games with the Pirates last year, but he entered this season fully fit and it showed.

In four games, Loiseau made four solo and eight assisted tackles, including one for a loss, intercepted a pass and recorded a quarterback hit. But soft-tissue injuries to his hands, groin and calf forced him to shut it down.

“It’s frustrating,” Loiseau said. “This type of league is very demanding on your body as opposed to the outdoor game because of the turf and the boards. So soft-tissue injuries are very common because the turf has no give. If you hit it, stuff just breaks.

“But (it’s better) compared to last year when I tore my knee and broke my wrist. It’s not stuff I have to get surgery for or wait for tendons and ligaments to heal.”

So things are trending in the right direction for Loiseau. Same goes for the Pirates.

After starting their sophomore season with one win in their first five games, the Pirates swept a home-and-home series with the first-year New York Streets to improve to 3-4 and climb to fourth place in the National Arena League standings before having a bye last week.

“We look good, although we still have a lot of underlying things to fix,” Loiseau said. “But we played a team (New York) we really can’t measure our standard with. … So, for us, we’re going to have to play a team like Jacksonville or Carolina or one of the better teams and that will be the real testing point for us.”

The Pirates opened the season with a pair of losses to defending league champion Carolina and will face Jacksonville, which entered the weekend with a league-leading 5-1 record, twice in July. Their other five remaining games are against teams that are .500 or worse.

So the opportunity is there for the Pirates to continue their playoff push while also being prudent when it comes to managing injuries.

“There are six teams in the league and four of us are going to go to the playoffs,” Loiseau said. “So we want to be in the top four and make the playoffs and make it there healthy. That’s the biggest thing.

“Last year we had the best record in the league, but we didn’t enter the playoffs healthy, so having the best record didn’t much matter. We’d much rather make it to the playoffs healthy because all you have to do is win one game and you’re in the championship.”

The Pirates went 11-5 and were regular-season champions last year. But injuries, especially to NAL MVP quarterback Sean Brackett, caught up to them in the playoffs, leading to an ouster in the semifinals.