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Mistrial on other rape charges

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VISTA, Calif. — A California judge declared a mistrial Tuesday on the eight remaining charges against former NFL player Kellen Winslow Jr. after a jury convicted him of raping a 58-year-old homeless woman but could not break a deadlock over two counts of rape involving a 54-year-old hitchhiker and an unconscious teen.

Prosecutors did not immediately say whether they would retry the charges but agreed to return to court Friday to discuss that option and possibly set a new trial date.

Winslow, who played for Cleveland, Tampa Bay, New England and the New York Jets, currently faces up to nine years in prison and must register as a sex offender.

The jury on Monday found him guilty of an attack last year on the homeless woman in his picturesque beach community of Encinitas, north of San Diego. Jurors also convicted him of two misdemeanors — indecent exposure and a lewd act in public — involving two other women.

The 35-year-old former tight end — at one point one of the highest-paid players at his position in the NFL — could face up to life in prison if he is retried and convicted of raping all three women.

After the San Diego County Superior Court sent the jury home Tuesday, prosecutor Dan Owens told reporters the majority of the 12 jurors believed Winslow was guilty of raping more than one woman.

“Ten jurors did feel very strongly that he had committed forcible sexual offenses against more than one victim,” he said. “That would lead to a lifetime prison term and that would be another factor that we would consider very strongly in determining how to proceed with the case.”

Winslow’s attorneys indicated that they want him to be sentenced after the case is retried and that they plan to appeal three convictions.

Defense lawyer Emily Bahr said Winslow was “shocked by that verdict” as was his family, including his father, former Chargers icon and Hall of Famer Kellen Winslow, who sat behind his son every day of the trial.

“They’re upset of course, disappointed by that outcome but they know that the team is going to move forward and continue to fight the case,” she said.

The jury found him not guilty of one count of a lewd act.

The jury of eight men and four women told the judge they were hopelessly deadlocked on the other eight charges after they deliberated for four days.

All five women who came forward against Winslow testified during the trial. Winslow did not take the stand.

Defense attorneys pointed out inconsistencies in the accusers’ testimonies and argued the women invented the allegations to prey on the wealth of Winslow, who reportedly earned over $40 million during his 10 seasons with the NFL.

The five women testified that they didn’t know Winslow was famous when they met him.

Prosecutors said Winslow felt empowered by his fame to abuse the most vulnerable.

The homeless woman in Encinitas, who was 58 at the time, testified that Winslow befriended her and attacked her next to his vehicle after inviting her for a coffee in May 2018. While the jury found him guilty of raping her, they remained deadlocked over a sodomy charge involving the woman.

If the case is retried, she could be called to testify again, which could mean the next jury could learn of the conviction as it weighs the other rape cases.

A 54-year-old hitchhiker said he drove her to an Encinitas shopping center parking lot and raped her in his Hummer in March 2018.

A 57-year-old woman said he exposed himself to her while she tended to her garden in May 2018. The jury found him guilty of that charge Monday.

After news of the attacks broke, a woman came forward and said Winslow had raped her when she was a 17-year-old high school student in 2003. He was 19 at the time and had come home from college for the summer.

A 77-year-old woman who went to the same gym as Winslow in the nearby beach community of Carlsbad said he committed lewd acts in front of her, including touching himself, while Winslow was free on $2 million bail in February. The jury found him guilty of touching himself in front of the woman while she exercised, but not guilty of committing a lewd act in front of her on a separate occasion in the gym’s hot tub.

Defense lawyers said the sex was consensual and that Winslow had cheated on his wife repeatedly with no-strings-attached sex.

Prosecutors said the crux of the women’s stories hasn’t change and that evidence included traces of Winslow’s DNA on one of the accuser’s pants and GPS locations placing him where the women said the assaults occurred.

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Chiefs’ Bieniemy — Not playcaller, but has input

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ATLANTA — Kansas City Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy scoffed at the idea that not being a playcaller cost him an opportunity to become a head coach after he interviewed for four head-coaching vacancies.

At this week’s NFL Quarterback Coaching Summit hosted by the NFL and Black College Football Hall of Fame, Bieniemy said he relished the opportunity to interview with the New York Jets, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Cincinnati Bengals and Miami Dolphins. Only one of the eight teams with new head coaches hired a minority, as the Dolphins selected Brian Flores.

“Here’s my response about the playcalling: coach (Andy) Reid has always done it his way, and that’s how historically he’s done it because he’s Coach Reid,” Bieniemy told ESPN. “He has a beautiful mind, and we all work hand-in-hand together. And he gives me the green light to do a number of things. I have input. I do scripts. I get the install. There are a number of things that I do.”

As Jason Reid of The Undefeated reported in January, Reid said Bieniemy had been “unbelievable” as coordinator, while MVP Patrick Mahomes called Bieniemy a “special coach” and a guy who has helped him a ton.

“Do I talk to the quarterback? Yes,” Bieniemy said. “(Reid) is reciting what he wants me to particularly tell Pat to call. So if people want to make a big deal about that, so be it. The experience that I’ve gotten, understanding how an offensive system works, the organization, how to prepare it, how to get guys going and moving in one direction for one cause, that’s what this is about.”

Although Bieniemy’s focus remains on his current duties with the Chiefs, it seems likely that he’ll receive a head-coaching opportunity based on his strong reputation. The Fritz Pollard Alliance, which oversees compliance with the Rooney Rule requiring teams to interview minority candidates, backed Bieniemy, 49, throughout the interview process.

“John Wooten and the Fritz Pollard Alliance, I thought they did a hell of a job; they gave me an opportunity,” Bieniemy said. “Obviously, Coach Reid has given me an opportunity. And I think my interviewing process went about as good as it could go.

“Also, it gave me the experience moving forward knowing that, ‘You know what, this is my first go-around. Second go-around, if I’m blessed and fortunate to be placed in that situation, I’ll be that much better.’ But as far as a head-coaching position is concerned, right now we’re focused on the season. Obviously, we want to go out and do some things that’s going to help us to continue to have success. Then if somebody wants to give me a chance, I’ll be willing, ready, and waiting for that opportunity.”

Marvin Lewis and Hue Jackson, two former black NFL head coaches, both expressed support for Bieniemy.

“In my mind, there’s no question that Eric Bieniemy deserves an opportunity to be head coach in the National Football League,” Lewis said. “I’m a very, very close friend of Andy Reid’s and for the last three years, he’s talked to me about Eric’s ability and attributes and what he has added to their offense. That’s why he elevated him to the coordinator role. Andy has recommended a number of coaches to me over the years, and he’s never been wrong.”

“Yes, Eric Bieniemy does deserve a head-coaching job,” Jackson said. “There’s no question about it. I think he’s one of the brightest, young offensive minds in the NFL. Everyone says who is the next up-and-coming guy, and he’s been that. He’s worthy of that. I mean, watch how the quarterback played in Kansas City. I just know when they talk about offense, they talk about Eric.”

Working on the offensive side of the ball should work in Bieniemy’s favor, with most teams seemingly looking for the next bright offensive mind. Bieniemy is one of two black offensive coordinators, along with Byron Leftwich of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

“I’ve been an offensive coach my whole entire life,” Bieniemy said. “People think just because you coach running backs you don’t understand the pass game. Well, when you’ve played the position, and you’re involved in coaching the position, you’ve got to make sure guys understand the entire game plan, meaning you’re very much involved in the pass game. You have to understand protections. You have to understand route concepts. You have to understand how defenses are structured going against you.

“Do we need more [minority] coaches on the offensive side of the ball? Yes. How do we go about doing that? We have to make sure there’s a plan for guys of helping guys get into that quarterback room and into quality-control positions so those guys can add that knowledge and learn how to deal with the quarterbacks, learn the language and speak it.”

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Ramsey now avoids dissing QBs — ‘I’m growing’

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Jacksonville Jaguars cornerback Jalen Ramsey made headlines last year when he criticized several opposing quarterbacks in a published interview. He’s not going down that road again this year though.

Asked by ESPN Adam Schefter on his podcast if he wanted to evaluate the quarterbacks he will face in the 2019 season, Ramsey passed and only wanted to talk about Nick Foles, who signed a four-year contract this offseason to become the Jaguars’ new starting quarterback.

“You want to do this again, huh? I’m not going to do this again but, we do play some good quarterbacks this year, of course, but probably the quarterback I’m most excited for is Nick Foles,” Ramsey told Schefter. “I don’t have to play against him, of course. He is my teammate. He is a great teammate, the few interactions we’ve had has been great. Great man, great player as well. He has nothing to prove to anybody. He’s a Super Bowl champion, Super Bowl MVP. So, I hope he comes out here and he plays free and knows he has the support of everybody.”

In a 2018 interview with GQ magazine, Ramsey caused a stir by belittling several quarterbacks, including calling the Atlanta FalconsMatt Ryan “overrated” and the Buffalo BillsJosh Allen “trash.”

But Ramsey said he’s grown since last year.

“I’m growing man, it’s Year 4 for me. It’s a different me. A lot of people think they know me, they don’t really know me. But hey, that’s OK,” he said.

Ramsey, the No. 5 overall pick in 2016, has made two Pro Bowls and was named a first-team All-Pro once in his first three seasons. He has nine interceptions and 44 pass breakups and hasn’t missed a start.

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Judge OKs $24M settlement over Rams’ PSLs

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ST. LOUIS — A federal judge has approved a settlement calling for the NFL’s Rams to pay up to $24 million to personal seat license holders in St. Louis.

U.S. District Judge Stephen Limbaugh Jr. approved the settlement Monday.

Several St. Louis PSL holders filed a class-action lawsuit after the team moved to Los Angeles in January 2016. Thousands of fans in St. Louis had purchased PSLs that were good for 30 seasons, which was the length of the lease at the domed stadium where the Rams played in St. Louis. Rams owner Stan Kroenke took the team to California after 21 seasons.

The lawsuit calls for PSL holders to get 30 percent of the original purchase price, a refund for the nine unused years of the seat license fee, plus damages.

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