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BEREA, Ohio - Sarah Thomas starts the day at her second job by tucking her long blond hair inside her cap, so she doesnt get noticed. On a football field, thats impossible. Thomas doesnt consider herself a pioneer, just "one of the guys." But as one of two female officials in the NFLs officiating development program, Thomas has a chance to break barriers in a male-dominated profession. This week, Thomas, a former college basketball player, current college official and mother of three whose full-time job is as pharmaceutical sales representative, worked with a crew of officials during Browns mini-camp. Like the players, she worked on improving her skills and honing her craft. One day, she hopes to be on the field with the pros. But not because of her gender. "I am a female, but I dont look at myself as just a female," she said. "I look at myself as an official." Thomas began her officiating career in 1996, when an NFL scout spotted her working a high school game. From there, she joined Conference USA and was invited to join the NFLs developmental program, now in its second year. Thomas worked some training camps and preseason games last season. The next step is a regular-season game, and the earliest that can happen is 2015. Its not her call, so to speak, but Thomas believes shes ready. If this week was any indication, Thomas could be on her way. "Shes done a good job," Browns coach Mike Pettine said after practice Thursday. Pettine believes its time for the league to welcome female officials. "If shes efficient and good at what she does, I have no issues with it," Pettine said. "I think the best compliment somebody paid to her was when someone said, What did you think of the female official? And they said, Theres a female official out here? I thought she was on point." Browns cornerback Joe Haden joked that Thomas was a little whistle happy. "She was calling everything," Haden said, smiling. "I couldnt snap on her. I was chilling." Thomas said her goal is to blend in. She doesnt want to stand out because of her sex — or worse, because shes not competent. Shes dedicated to being a solid, fair and mostly unseen, which is why she pulls her hair up under her cap. Still, sometimes players do a double take when they see her on the field. "I think sometimes they go What is that?" she said. "Yes, I do tuck my hair and at first I really wasnt too sure why. But I get it. We dont want to be noticed and anything I can do to blend in — I like it when I leave the field and people go I told you that was a girl." Thomas has two boys and an 18-month-old girl. She said her sons are most interested in her nabbing some NFL attire or autographs, "I cant do that," she said. Her children have never thought about their mom being anything other than an official, so they dont really grasp that she could make history as the NFLs first female official. "They just know mom officiates and its nothing foreign to them or pioneering or anything," she said. "I do this." ___ AP NFL website www.pro32.ap.org Emerson Jersey .com) - The Anaheim Ducks and Los Angeles Kings are ready to put all the talk and hype surrounding their meeting at Dodger Stadium behind them. Kepa Arrizabalaga Jersey .85 million contract with the two-time Gold Glove outfielder. Parra earned his second Gold Glove last season when he set a club record with 17 outfield assists. http://www.chelseafcproshop.com/Kids-Eden-Hazard-Jersey/ .Mateo Kovacic and Andrea Ranocchia scored for Inter, which had goalkeeper Samir Handanovic to thank for several crucial saves.Its an important victory against a Chievo side which plays well, Mancini said. Marcin Bulka Chelsea Jersey . - For years William Gay kept quiet. Kepa Arrizabalaga Chelsea Jersey . -- Two out of three aint bad.REGINA -- Young, loose and happy to be here. The Hamilton Tiger-Cats go into the 101st Grey Cup with very little pressure and a lot of love. A Hamilton team with 18 CFL rookies on the roster, without a stadium and sometimes hot water, has come a very long way this season. Their journey has taken them all the way to Saskatchewan, where the predominant colour in winter is white but the locals bleed green. Rider Nation expects a lot from the Roughriders. "Carrying the Weight of a Nation," was the headline in Saturdays Regina Leader-Post. City buses have been flashing "Go Riders Go" all week as they snake through the snowy roads. The underdog Tiger-Cats are hoping to spoil the party. And their motivation has been ramped up by the Rider love-in this week, including the CFL awards show. "Everything seemed like it was about Saskatchewan," said Hamilton linebacker Brandon Isaac, who won the Cup last year as an Argo. "That got a lot of guys fired up, got the blood boiling." Added veteran quarterback Henry Burris: "At the awards show it was like Hey, welcome to history, history, history, history, history. ... Of course they werent talking about us and then all of a sudden it was like Hey. dont forget Hamilton is here." The Ticats understand they are in enemy territory but have nevertheless turned Rider Pride into a big chip on their black-and-gold shoulders. It has made for the ultimate us-against-the world scenario. Its been that way all season. While their new stadium is being built, the Ticats spent the year commuting to McMaster for practice and Guelph for games. "For all the things that people said we couldnt overcome and all the different obstacles that have been thrown at us ... we should have just folded the tent and just went home before the season started," said Burris. "We believed in ourselves, and the talent that we had in that (locker) room," he added. "All we had to do is really commit ourselves and sacrifice everything away from football and truly commit ourselves to making ourselves a better team." Coach Kent Austin has little sympathy for issues like cold showers and other annoying byproducts of their nomadic season. That message has trickled down to his players. "Its something you put up with," Austin said. "No big deal. Welcome to the game of life. "We dont whine about things like that or make excuses." Hamilton (10-8) started the season 1-4 but finished it on a 4-1 run, before adding two more victories in the post-season. The hours spent on buses has made for a team that genuinely enjoys its own company. "You enjoy coming to work every day," Isaac said of the teams relaxed vibe, " because you dont know whats going to happen but you know something goods going to happen."t; Burris, one of several influential veterans on the team, demonstrated that when he broke into an Arnold Schwarzenegger imitation as he met the media after a short practice.dddddddddddd The Ticats spent no more than half a hour Saturday on the chilly Mosaic Stadium field where the temperature was minus-16 and felt like minus-25. The forecast is better for Sundays kickoff at minus-three or four. The frigid conditions this week were new to many of the Tiger-Cats and more than a few looked uncomfortable as they stepped out onto the frozen tundra earlier in the week. Isaac, a native of South Carolina, called the frigid practice conditions "brutal" but said the team has dealt with it. Burris also noted that the Ticats had to play in plenty of cold, wet, windy and ugly conditions in Guelph. "We faced it all. Through it all, weve trumped it and we found ways to achieve triumph through those situations. So our team has been mentally prepared for whatever Mother Nature has thrown at us." And the 38-year-old Burris says that his young teammates understand that while cold is fleeting, a CFL championship is for ever. "To see how the way our guys have embraced this moment. They truly understand that if this all its going to take for us to win a championship, then hey were all up for it." Hamilton has weapons to get the job done. Led by Burris (4,927 yards), the Tiger-Cats were second to Toronto in passing while rookie C.J. Gable (782 yards) was fourth in the league in rushing. But Hamilton ranked sixth in scoring and gave up a league-high 65 sacks. And while Burris once played in Regina, Gable -- a California boy -- clearly is no fan of the cold. The Tiger-Cat defence ranked fifth in the league in points yielded at 26.0 a game (Saskatchewan led at 22.1) and has a league-worst 35 sacks. It faces a Roughrider offence that ranked second in the league in scoring (519 points). Hamilton has won the Grey Cup 15 times including eight as the Tiger-Cats. The last championship came in 1999 in a 32-21 win over Calgary at B.C. Place in Hamiltons last trip to the final. The Tiger-Cats are poised to move into their new stadium next season and owner Bob Young says the team is headed to financial stability for the first time in 42 years. A Grey Cup win would be a big shiny ribbon on that bow. Austin, who preaches accountability but gives his players room to breathe, said his team understands there are many people depending on them Sunday. "I told our players when you take the field, when you prepare during the week, youre not just doing it for your teammates ... it should matter to everybody that theres other people that it matters to. "It doesnt matter where theyre at in the organization, we have a lot of people counting on this going well. That should matter to you." ' ' '
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