Canadian Football League

Saturday, April 28, 2007

More on former Canadian Football League QB charged with sexually abusing a female student

The Scottsdale Unified School District plans to fire a well-known substitute teacher and athletic coach at Saguaro High School who is accused of sexually abusing a female student.And Scottsdale police said Friday they are investigating whether there are other victims who may have been inappropriately touched by assistant football and track coach Tom Porras. Police said they believe other students have been to Porras’ Scottsdale home to receive athletic massages, but that no additional students have come forward alleging sexual abuse. Porras, 49, a former professional football player and married father of two sons, admitted to inappropriate sexual contact with the 17-year-old track and field athlete who reported the incident to a family member, police said. The news stunned students and neighbors who said the coach was well-known and well-liked. “There is not a person, probably, at the school who doesn’t know who Tom Porras is,” said Trevor Haas, a student at Saguaro High School. “He has a bunch of kids over from our football team. They do speed training and athletic training with him.” Police arrested Porras on campus Thursday on suspicion of sex abuse and public sexual indecency. He is on supervised release and must wear an electronic monitoring device, according to court records. “We are concerned that there are other victims, but at this time, no other victims have been identified,” Scottsdale police Sgt. Mark Clark said. The district has banned Porras from all campuses, and he won’t be returning to any jobs in the district, according to Marijke Van Fleet, district spokeswoman. A letter sent to parents on Friday said the district “is in the process of terminating Mr. Porras.” Scottsdale school administrators said it is against school policy for students to be at teachers’ homes. Administrators said they are talking to other schools in the district to determine if other coaches were allowing kids to come to their homes. “He should have known better. It clearly states in school policy that a teacher having a student at their house is prohibited,” Van Fleet said. Porras has been employed by the district since the 2003-04 school year. He had a clean record and there were no “red flags” that would have prevented the school from employing him or keeping him employed, Van Fleet said. Porras is a former professional quarterback from the Canadian Football League, Arena Football League and the now-defunct United States Football League. He played for the former Arizona Wranglers. He had coached the running backs on Saguaro’s football team and has a son who is a student at Saguaro and another son who was a standout football player who graduated last year and is attending Stanford University. When police executed a search warrant at Porras’ house Thursday afternoon, they confiscated an exercise ball and clothing to review for DNA evidence, Clark said. The teen told police that she was aware that other students went to Porras’ house on a regular basis to work out because he was a personal trainer, according to court records. After the girl arrived at his house, she changed into a two-piece bathing suit in the bathroom. As she was resting on her stomach on an exercise ball, Porras placed his hands under her suit bottoms and began massaging her buttocks, according to her police statement. The girl told police she was very uncomfortable but didn’t know what to do. At one point during the massage, Porras kissed the girl on the back of her neck and her buttocks and eventually performed a sexual act on her, according to court records. In two interviews with police, Porras admitted to the inappropriate sexual behavior, police said. Students leaving Saguaro on Friday afternoon said they were surprised to hear the allegations. “I would always see (Porras) and say, ‘Hi.’ He seemed really cool,” said freshman Elisa Valdez. “He’d be the last person I’d suspect.” Many students had Porras as a substitute and described him as a nice, talented guy who frequently played his guitar at school. “He’s really nice to all students, no matter what gender,” said sophomore Chris Kovatch. Amanda Salazar, who was waiting outside Saguaro to pick up her freshman son as school let out, said this arrest on top of an incident at the beginning of the year when a janitor was accused of raping a student was “very distressing.” “Something needs to happen,” Salazar said. Neighbors also were shocked. “My wife and I are good friends with them,” said Richard Lorbeer, Porras’ next-door neighbor. “We can’t get over it. My wife said it never leaves her mind. “He’d do anything we ask of him, like when we needed to borrow something, he’d let us use it. Their sons are polite, and they’re both Eagle Scouts. We’ve never had one minute’s problem out of them. Their home is kept immaculate. Nothing is out of place.”

Friday, April 27, 2007

Former Canadian Football League QB arrested on sex charges

A former pro football quarterback working as a substitute teacher and athletics coach at a high school has been arrested on suspicion of sex abuse and public sexual indecency with a female student, police said.
Scottsdale Unified School District officials said police were investigating alleged improper off-campus conduct between Tom Porras and a 17-year-old Saguaro High student at Porras' home Wednesday.
Porras, 49, was taken into custody Thursday at the school and placed on unpaid administrative leave, said district spokeswoman Marijke Van Fleet.
Porras played a combined 17 seasons in the Canadian Football League, the Arena Football League and defunct United States Football League. He led the Hamilton Tiger-Cats to the Grey Cup championship in 1986 when he was holder on Paul Osbalidson's six field goals.
Porras, known for his singing prowess off the field, also played for Toronto, Calgary and Winnipeg.
He started his pro career in the USFL with Chicago and Arizona before heading north. He was barred from his first tryout in Montreal when he was told the team already had its compliment of 400. But he jumped the fence to join the tryouts and was signed the next day.
Porras, who retired from pro football in 1996, has worked for the school district since 2003 and was a substitute teacher at Saguaro High as well as an assistant football and track coach.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Stamps sign new Canadian Football League QB

Akili Smith put down the ''For Sale'' sign to pick up a football again.
The third overall pick by the Cincinnati Bengals in the 1999 NFL draft didn't want to continue his career in real estate in San Diego without giving football one more shot.
He's taking that shot with the CFL's Calgary Stampeders.
The 31-year-old from San Diego signed a two-year contract and worked out at Calgary's free-agent tryout camp Thursday.
''I've got a lot of football left in my tank,'' Smith said. ''I only have 22 games played in the NFL.

''I am fortunate and blessed as far as the finances are concerned. I just have that burning desire to play football. I'm here now trying to get a starting job.''
Smith threw 32 touchdown passes in 11 starts in his senior year at Oregon to earn the attention of NFL scouts.
The NFL draft Saturday is headlined by JaMarcus Russell and Brady Quinn, but eight years ago, Smith was one of five pivots taken in the first round.
The Bengals made him the third overall pick behind fellow quarterbacks Tim Couch and Donovan McNabb. Smith was taken ahead of Daunte Culpepper at No. 11.
''That was a big day and it was a blessing,'' Smith recalled. ''There's not too many people who are fortunate to be among the top picks. ''
That was the high point of Smith's tenure in Cincinnati. He missed some of the Bengals' training camp in a contract dispute, but eventually agreed to a deal with a reported $10.8-million US signing bonus.
He played only 17 games in four years in Cincinnati before he was released. He completed 215 of 461 passes for 2,212 yards, five touchdowns and 13 interceptions there.
''It didn't work out for me,'' Smith said. ''I got to start my second year and I didn't play well, and then after that I played one game in my third year and one game in my fourth year and after that I was pretty much done.''
The Green Bay Backers gave him a chance to become Brett Favre's backup in 2003, but let him go. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers gave him a look two years ago, but he didn't stick.
''Once you're out of the loop, it's pretty tough to get back in,'' Smith said.
Smith's last game was two years ago with NFL Europe's Frankfurt Galaxy.
The six-foot-three, 220-pound pivot still has a powerful, accurate arm and that was on display Thursday at McMahon Stadium.
He insists the CFL isn't a route back to the NFL for him.
''I'm not thinking about the NFL. I'm out here to play Canadian football,'' Smith said.
Henry Burris is Calgary's starting quarterback and Smith has to navigate the learning curve of Canadian football in order to take that job away from Burris.
''No matter how good a guy's tools are, we've seen a lot of guys come up in this league with a lot of credentials and they can't do it,'' Stampeders general manager Jim Barker said. ''We're never going to know until we get to exhibition season, watch him in those, watch how he reacts in a regular game.
''His role is to challenge Henry Burris as the quarterback. Henry is our starting quarterback. We expect Henry to elevate his game. The better Akili is, the better Henry is going to be.''
Smith feels he's gotten a fresh start both personally and professionally. He was married Saturday before coming to Calgary and says his wife Tiesha makes sure he stays in shape.
''Being a bachelor in the NFL can be pretty tough,'' Smith said. ''You got so many people coming at you with business cards and all different types of opportunities and things like that. It is pretty distracting.
''Now that I'm locked down, I'm a lot more focused. I should be able to succeed out here hopefully.''
Calgary also signed defensive Lineman Alonzo Jackson and linebacker Matt Grootegoed on Thursday.