Chicago Sun-Times
A hearty stew of offbeat sports and pop culture.

Sun-Up: Roddy White's game-winner; Marcus Benard out of hospital after collapsing; Marina Orlova; Jenn Sterger finally talks to NFL; Power plant demolition fail

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New York Giants wide receiver Hakeem Nicks is being accused by his alma mater of giving collegiate players improper benefits.

The university claims the sure-handed Nicks dropped around $3,300 into the lap of the program.

The "impermissible benefits" given by Nicks, the two players, and two others, "includes the estimated value of lodging provided in their homes," the release stated, "some of which was repaid by the involved student-athletes before they or their hosts knew that receipt of the benefits violated NCAA rules."

Flying high

The Atlanta Falcons became the first team in the NFL to notch a seventh win, thanks large in part to Matt Ryan's last-minute, game-winning touchdown pass to Roddy White.

But, hey, didn't White get away with a pass-interference infraction?

"Yeah, you've got to do whatever you've got to do to win," he said. "It was one-on-one coverage with one guy. But he was kind of flat-footed, and he tried to grab me, so I just pushed him down."

Good strategy.

Scary moments
Cleveland Browns linebacker Marcus Benard was released from an Ohio hospital last night after collapsing in the team's locker room earlier in the day.

Benard was awake, alert and sitting up when he was placed in the ambulance and never lost consciousness.

The undrafted player boasts a team-high 4.5 sacks this year.

Favregate, Day 36
Jenn Sterger, the former New York Jets sideline reporter at the center of Brett Favre text-messaging hullabaloo, finally met with NFL investigators yesterday.

She, her lawyer, her manager and a league security chief for several hours and, according to them, provided "substantial" information.

Meanwhile, the silver-haired Viking, announced that he won't be returning next year.

This time, I think we can take that declaration at face value.

marina-orlova.jpgMarina Orlova because, well, why not?

And finally ...

Here's hoping your day goes smoother than this demolition of an Ohio power plant. Thankfully, no one on the ground was hurt when all heck broke loose.

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