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Sunday, May 19, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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The Hawks will have to win in Minnesota without Beast Mode

A GRIP ON SPORTS • Let’s just pretend it’s a Tuesday. A cold Tuesday. You aren’t feeling your best. You know work just won’t, well, work for you. So you call in sick. Make the decision you wouldn't be helping and tell your boss. You’re a trooper, usually, but this day isn’t going to cut it. Read on.

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• Would anyone care? And that’s illustration No. 4,376 why sports is different than real life. Marshawn Lynch had abdominal surgery a little more than a month ago. He has tried to return in time for the playoffs. He practiced this week. It looked good. Then yesterday he told Pete Carroll and the Hawks he couldn’t do it. He couldn’t play Sunday. He, basically, called in “sick.” He stayed home to work on more rehab. And Seattle’s fans are left to wonder what happened. There are at least two ways to look at it. You can take the half-empty one, decide the Marshawn from his I-want-to-get-the-heck-out-of-Buffalo days is back and he’s slacking, picking the most important moment to pull the rug out from under his organization, ensuring it will let him go at the end of the season. Or you can take the half-full view. The guy’s a gamer who plays with an abandon that borders on the reckless. After Friday’s workout he realized he couldn’t do that this weekend. His body wouldn’t let him. So he gave the club as much time as possible to make adjustments and went back to work trying to get ready for next week’s game. If there is a “next week’s game.” It’s up to you to decide. You have a vested interest as a fan of the team. I prefer to embrace the latter but understand completely anyone who leans to the former. No matter what, though, the Hawks have a hand to play Sunday. Will it be enough to trump the Vikings? With Russell Wilson and the defense at the top of their form, it should be.

• The best offensive player in FCS football this past year played in Cheney. Cooper Kupp, a wide receiver mind you, finished off a sweep of all the level’s player-of-the-year awards last night when he was named the STATS FCS Offensive Player of the Year in a ceremony prior to today’s national title game. It’s not often a wide receiver for a team that played some musical chairs at the quarterback position is able to transcend his competition, but Cupp’s performances helped him do just that. It didn’t matter who was throwing him the ball or whether he was gathering it in as a receiver or a returner, he did something special each game. Usually more than once or twice a game. And he’ll be back next season.

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• WSU: A big thumbs up to the college football hall of fame voters, who picked former Washington State offensive lineman Mike Utley as part of the 2016 induction class. Jacob Thorpe has more on Utley’s selection in this story and blog post. As you probably know, not only was Utley a standout for the Cougars, he also played for the Detroit Lions until his legs were paralyzed in an on-field collision. ... The Cougars host Washington today in the first of two meetings. Jacob has an advance of today’s rivalry game. ... The WSU women overcame a poor shooting night to defeat Arizona in Pullman. ... The national championship football game is Monday night. We have ESPN.com’s mailbag for one more weekend.

• Gonzaga: Portland invades the Kennel this evening, trying to become the first WCC team to defeat the Zags this season. Jim Meehan has an advance.

• EWU: Jim Allen has the story on Cupp’s award.

• Idaho: The Vandals travel to Cheney today, looking to keep its undefeated Big Sky record intact. John Blanchette has this column on a local player who is a big reason why they have been successful.

• Chiefs: As Spokane heads into the new year, the Chiefs will do it without a couple of four-year players, traded away last week. Tom Clouse looks at how the changes affect the team headed into tonight’s game with Regina. ... Visiting Everett defeated Kelowna in overtime Friday night while Kamloops topped visiting Tri-City.

• Preps: Gonzaga Prep’s boys stayed tied with Lewis and Clark atop the GSL standings with a 58-40 win over Ferris last night. Greg Lee was there and has this story that covers all the GSL boys action. ... Colin Mulvany has a photo report from the game. ... We also have a girls GSL roundup. ... Tom was at St. George’s win over Northwest Christian in girls action and we can pass along boys and girls basketball roundups from around the area.

• Seahawks: The late-breaking Lynch news dominates today’s report though this piece about Bobby Wagner and his mother is the can’t-miss story of the day. ... The Vikings see the NFC North title as a stepping-stone to better things. ... The AP All-Pro teams were named yesterday and only return man Tyler Lockett earned first-team honors. ... Back to Lynch, his absence puts more pressure on Christine Michael and the rest of the offense, which has been up to the task the second half of the season. ... Steven Hauschka still has Pete Carroll's confidence.

• Mariners: Ken Griffey Jr. came back to Seattle yesterday and, as expected, the Mariners announced his No. 24 would no longer be available. The club is retiring the number organization-wide, joining Jackie Robinson’s 42 – retired baseball-wide – on the unavailable list.

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• Have a good Saturday, no matter what’s on your agenda. Until later ...




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Vince Grippi
Vince Grippi is a freelance local sports blogger for spokesman.com. He also contributes to the SportsLink Blog.

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