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First Down

- The Washington Times - Monday, March 3, 2008

Weekend Rewind - In Case You Missed It

Free Agency Bonanza: Just a few days into the NFL's version of holiday shopping season, the Redskins have been unusually quiet. Sign of good things to come? Lance Briggs — who was rumored to be headed to the District — is off the market after signing a six-year deal with the Bears, and the 49ers have seemingly replaced the Redskins as the destination for overpaid players on the downside of their careers (see Justin Smith, Isaac Bruce).

Ace in the hole: As for the Nationals having four healthy No. 1 pitchers (counting prospects), it was nice while it lasted ... less than a week of spring training games. Shawn Hill underwent an MRI that revealed tightness in his right forearm five months after surgery. If you can throw a 90 mph fastball and can book a flight to Viera, Fla., the vacancy sign is on.

Patriot games: The mighty American Eagles clinched the top seed in the Patriot League after beating Lafayette 84-72 on Saturday. Fans stormed the court at Bender Arena as AU won the regular-season league championship for the second time. The Eagles meet Holy Cross in the first round Wednesday night.

TWT FIVE - REASONS NOT TO STORM THE COURT

It's OK when AU's fans celebrate but when every school does it, it gets old. Here are five reasons why storming the court after wins is past its time:

1. Polls don't matter: They're good barometers, but beating a ranked opponent could be as hollow as knocking off New Jersey Institute of Technology.

2. Parity, baby: Even in the Patriot League, teams are so evenly matched that an upset is in the eye of the beholder.

3. Mob mentality: In all seriousness, it's pretty likely that someone trips and falls. Be kind. Don't trample.

4. Lame as it gets: Except for the hardcore fans, do half the students even know why they're jumping up and down at midcourt?

5. Commodores pride: Vanderbilt has knocked off six top-ranked opponents at Memorial Gym, and its fans didn't storm the court after a win over Tennessee last week. Bravo.

ON WASHINGTONTIMES.COM

Chatter: Mark Zuckerman and Thom Loverro report live from Nationals spring training in Viera, Fla.

HE SAID WHAT?

"I think it gave me the opportunity to come home. I'm happy to return to the team that I started my career with." — Lance Briggs on re-signing with Chicago, the only team he has played for.