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Lil Wayne's Mansion "Swatted": Cops


Rapper Lil Wayne's Miami Beach mansion was targeted by a "swatting" call Wednesday, police confirmed, hours after someone reported, apparently falsely, that shots had been fired at the 15,000-square-foot home.

No victims, no injuries and no suspect were found at the 8-bedroom home, police said. Lil Wayne's record label confirmed that he wasn't home at the time of the call and was "okay."

Police had earlier received a non-emergency call of shots fired at 94 Lagorce Circle, which real estate records show that a corporation managed by the rapper bought for $11.6 million in 2011. Its current market value is $9.4 million.

Police made no contact with anyone inside the home, police said.

Lil Wayne's record label said on Twitter the rapper was "okay" and not at the home at the time.

Lil Wayne, whose real name is Dwayne Michael Carter, Jr, first made headlines in 1991 at age 9 as the youngest rapper ever to join the Cash Money Records label as half of the duo The B.G.’z.

Wayne’s debut solo album “Tha Block Is Hot” was released in 1999 and went platinum. His follow up albums “Lights Out” (1999) and “500 Degreez” (2002) both went gold, but it was his 2004 fourth album “Tha Carter” (featuring the hit “Go D.J.”) that brought him international recognition.

That album was followed by “Tha Carter II” (2005) and “Tha Carter III (2008). The latter, featuring the hit “Lollipop," is Wayne’s most successful album to date and was awarded the Grammy for best rap album.

The rapper served an 8-month jail sentence in New York in 2010 after being convicted of criminal possession of a weapon stemming from a 2007 incident.

Since then, Wayne has released more albums: “Rebirth (2009), “I Am Not a Human Being” (2010), “Tha Carter IV” (2011) and I Am Not a Human Being II” (2013). In 2012 Wayne passed Elvis Presley as the male solo act with most songs on the Billboard 100 chart with 109 entries.

Wayne founded his own imprint, Young Money Entertainment, in 2005.

Stay with NBC 6 and NBC6.com for updates on this breaking news story.

Photo Credit: Dan Krauth/NBC 6 South Florida
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$1.8M Reported Missing From Estate Left to Oxford


A Woodbury attorney has been removed as executor to an estate a deceased resident bequeathed to the town of Oxford after $1.8 million was reported missing.

Oxford First Selectman George R. Temple said in a statement that he is meeting with the state police major crime unit detectives after the funds were reported missing from the late Miriam Strong's estate.

"This theft is significant to the town as we were named as beneficiaries of the residual estate," Temple said. "The money was earmarked by the will for use in the construction of a library, a scholarship fund for Oxford High School and the purchase of open space."

On Monday, the town made a motion in Southbury Probate Court that passed to have Attorney Peter M. Clark removed from being the estate executor. Retired Probate Judge Clifford D. Hoyle has been named as the new executor.

"Judge Hoyle will be responsible for marshaling the remaining assets of the estate and attempt to recoup those assets that are missing," Temple said. "I have directed Town Attorney Kevin W. Condon to cooperate vigorously with those efforts."

Strong loved Oxford and Temple said "this is a sad day" for the town.

"I knew Miriam Strong. She was a very energetic focused individual who gave freely of her time," Temple said. "She loved Oxford as evidenced by her very generous bequest to the town. It is infuriating that her good intentions would be defeated by individual greed. We are all too familiar with the anger associated with being a victim of a crime as our former tax collector is serving time in Niantic Prison as a result of her embezzlement of public funds."

That former tax collector, Karen Guillet, 61, resigned from her post after she was accused of embezzling more than $600,000 from the town in December 2009. In July 2012, she pleaded guilty to first-degree larceny. She will not be receiving pension from the town.

Temple said in the statement that he can't comment on an ongoing investigation, but confirmed that people will be investigating and urged town officials to cooperate as needed.

No arrests have been made at this time.

Photo Credit: Getty

Route 15 South Closed in Hamden


The Merritt Parkway 15 Southbound in Hamden was closed between exit 60 and the tunnel for a short period of time because of a car fire.

One person was in the car and the fire is out. The scene is clearing.

No additional information was immediately available.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Death of 2-Year-Old Plymouth Girl Ruled a Homicide


The death of a 2-year-old Plymouth girl has been ruled a homicide, and the medical examiner's office said the child died after ingesting a drug used to treat people addicted to opioids.

The toddler, identified as Londyn Sack, was found unresponsive at 211 Main Street in the Terryville section of Plymouth the morning of Oct. 19. She was pronounced dead at the hospital.

Londyn's cause of death was determined to be acute buprenporphine toxicity. It's not clear how the child contracted the drug, which is used mainly to treat those with heroin and oxycodone addictions.

No charges have been filed.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Third Person Charged in Shelton Liquor Store Robbery


Police have arrested a third person in connection with the armed robbery of a Shelton liquor store in December and said they expect to file charges against a fourth person as well.

Valentine Rodriguez, 32, of Bridgeport, was arrested March 11 on charges of first-degree robbery, third-degree larceny, conspiracy to commit robbery and larceny and criminal possession of a firearm.

He's accused of holding up Cleto's Liquor Store on Howe Avenue, along with his brother, an accomplice and a fourth person who has yet to be charged, the evening of Dec. 16.

Police served the arrest warrant while Rodriguez was in court. He was previously charged in connection with the armed robbery of a Cumberland Farms in Shelton that led to the injury of an officer late last year.

Samantha Cruz-Palarino, 25, of Oxford, has been arrested in connection with both robberies. Valentine Rodriguez's brother, Jonathan Rodriguez, 30, of Bridgeport, has been charged in the liquor store robbery.

Photo Credit: Shelton Police Department

West Haven Man Breaks Into Two Hamden Homes: Cops


Police have arrested the man accused of breaking into a home in Hamden on Tuesday, then forcing his way into a second house after the resident returned home.

According to police, Clifton Spellman, 43, of West Haven, was caught burglarizing a home on Augur Street around 3:45 p.m. Tuesday. The woman who found Spellman in her house told police he ran from the property and headed toward Newhall Street.

Moments later, the resident of another home on Augur Street called police to say Spellman had broken a door frame and forced his way into a common hallway. Officers arrived to find Spellman hiding on the second floor, police said.

Spellman was arrested and charged with two counts of second-degree burglary and one count of third-degree criminal mischief. He was held on $100,000 bond and is due in court March 24.

New App Seeks to Prevent Suicide Through Health Care Providers


A free mobile app intended to help prevent suicides by showing behavioral health-care providers how to better evaluate patients at risk was launched Wednesday by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

Called "Suicide Safe," it assists professionals to integrate suicide prevention strategies into their practice, including tips on how to communicate effectively with patients and referrals to treatments, according to the administration.

The app was unveiled to also mark the 10-year anniversary of the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, which has answered more than seven million calls since 2005, officials said. It is available on Apple and Android phones, as well as Google play.

“Suicide devastates lives throughout all parts of our nation, but it is a public health issue that is preventable and SAMHSA is working to provide people on the front lines with resources they need to save lives,” Administrator Pamela S. Hyde said in a statement. “Suicide Safe is a major step forward in suicide prevention. The app gives behavioral and primary care providers an essential and modern prevention tool at their fingertips to help address suicide risk with their patients.”

Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States, and it is the second leading cause of death among people age 15 to 34, according to the administration, which is part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

It added that almost half of those who committed suicide have visited a primary care provider in the month prior to their death, and about 20 percent have had contact with mental health services.

Misha Kessler, who survived a suicide attempt and who spoke at the launch, said the app is a good tool for doctors to start conversations with their patients.

"I think that the interesting thing is that people kind of underestimate just how isolating depression can be," Kessler said.

"I do believe it will save more lives because there’s actually statistics about the amount of people that visit clinicians in the time before suicide attempts," he added.

Recalling that his attempt was a result of "self-hatred," he urged those with suicidal intentions not to be afraid to talk to people.

"The possibility that you’re experiencing something that you can get help for, I think that’s what’s most important," he said.

SUICIDE PREVENTION: If you know someone who needs help, you can contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline by calling 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

Despondent Woman With Gun Prompted School Lockdown


A woman has been taken to a local hospital to be evaluated after police responded to a report of a despondent person with a shotgun in the basement of a home on Willard Avenue in Newington on Wednesday morning. 

A shelter in place was ordered for Newington High School, located nearby, as police responded and it was lifted after a woman surrendered to police. 

No one was injured, but the woman was taken to an area hospital to evaluation.

Route 173 was been closed between Route 175 and Veterans Administration as police investigated.

Police are continuing to investigate.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Live Chickens Fall Off Truck in NYC


Dozens of crates of live chickens fell from the back of a truck and spilled onto a Staten Island street Wednesday morning. 

A driver was transporting the chickens from New Jersey to Brooklyn when nearly 30 crates of the chickens fell from the truck near Steuben Street and Hylan Boulevard at about 7:15 a.m., according to police. 

The driver apparently wasn't aware of the spill because he continued on, police said. Other drivers came across the crates, with some chickens having escaped and at least one injured on the sidewalk, and called police, the Staten Island Advance reported

Responding police officers directed traffic around the area as they helped secure the chickens back into the crates and then bring them back to the 122nd Precinct station.

Police said they were able to locate the company driver, who returned to pick up the chickens a few hours later. 

Stamford Teens Arrested After Fight at Greenwich High


Authorities have arrested two teens from Stamford who picked a fight with students at Greenwich High School, then turned on the security staff who tried to intervene, according to police.

Police said they were called to the high school around 4 p.m. Tuesday after an argument turned physical in the student center. According to police, teens were fighting over a personal matter involving family members.

A Greenwich teen hit another person, who was not hurt and tried to diffuse the tension, according to police. The fight continued outside, where two Stamford residents threw punches, then turned their aggression toward security staff who tried to break up the fight.

Police said the Stamford teens, ages 16 and 17, “verbally berated” the security personnel, spit on them and hit the staff members. Both were arrested and charged with first-degree criminal trespass and breach of peace.

Authorities expect to file charges against a Greenwich teen as well.

Police said no one was hurt during the fight.

Detectives and school officials continue to investigate.

NYC Girls' McDonald's Brawl Probed


The NYPD is investigating after video surfaced online showing a group of girls viciously kicking and punching another girl inside a Brooklyn McDonald’s while dozens of fellow teens watch and jeer. 

The video, posted to Facebook, captures the Monday afternoon brawl at a McDonald’s on Flatbush Avenue in Flatbush. The footage shows four girls repeatedly punching and kicking another teen wearing a blue hooded sweatshirt while throngs of bystanders shout in the background.

The larger group continues to attack the teen in the blue sweatshirt, even pulling out her hair extensions, until the girl huddles underneath a table with her hands over her head. At one point, one of the girls in the group stomps on the victim's head. 

At several points during the fight, bystanders can be heard saying, "She’s dead," and, "You murdered her."

The video ends with several students picking the girl up off the ground and putting her on a bench.

One boy who witnessed the attack told NBC 4 New York Wednesday he "felt bad for the girl," but was concerned about intervening.

"I didn't know what was going on and I was kind of scared, I'm not gonna lie," said the boy, who asked not to be identified.

Police said they do not recall getting a 911 about the brawl. Officers responding to an unrelated call in the area shortly after it broke up encountered another, separate fight outside the McDonald's and then learned about the brawl that had raged inside earlier.

Police, who had not seen the video of the brawl at that point, say the girl in the blue hooded sweatshirt did not want to make a report or go to the hospital. She ended up going to the hospital later and was treated for bumps and bruises, authorities said.

On Wednesday, after reviewing the cellphone brawl video, police say they took a report for gang assault and were able to identify the girl in the blue hooded sweatshirt and the girl seen stomping her head. Both are 16 years old, authorities said. Authorities say they believe all those involved in the brawl are students at Erasmus High School.

The investigation has been hampered by witnesses' unwillingness to come forward, police say; they have only the video to go on and neither the apparent victim nor the mother will cooperate with authorities.

Community activist Tony Herbert said the victim should file a police report, and asked all of the people involved to turn themselves in to authorities.

"The message has to be sent very clearly, that this kind of violence will not be tolerated whether in a mall or in restaurants and those involved should turn themselves in to authorities immediately so as to face the consequences of their violent actions,” Herbert said.

The Department of Education was notified of the fight shortly after the altercation; a staff member went to the McDonald's and accompanied the victim to the hospital, then waited until her parents arrived.

"The actions in this video are abhorrent and our primary concern right now is for the well-being of the student," the agency said in a statement. It said additional counselors would be available at the school.

Paul Goodman, the Flatbush Avenue McDonald's franchisee, said his employees contacted the police as soon as the brawl erupted, though it wasn't clear if they tried 911 or a non-emergency line.

"The safety of my employees and customers is my top priority," Goodman said in a statement. "As part of the Flatbush community, I will continue to work with the NYPD and community leaders to ensure the safety of customers."

McDonald's Corporation has not responded to NBC 4 New York's inquiries.

It’s not the first large fight involving teens and caught on video in recent days. Several male students attacked each other with bats and brass knuckles over the weekend on Long Island amid ongoing racial tensions between students at Connetqout High School in Bohemia.

Anyone with information about the McDonald's fight is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-577-TIPS. 

-- Pei-Sze Cheng contributed to this report 

Photo Credit: Facebook

Commuters Try "Conscious Clubbing"


For most people, Wednesday morning starts off with a nice breakfast, maybe a run at the park, or just a trip straight to work.

But for some in the Bay Area, there’s a fourth go-to now: clubbing.

“I started coming to this over the summer, probably five to six times,” said Michael Garcia, who lives in San Francisco. “When I did first hear about it, it was an instant, ‘Well, yeah, of course, I’m going to do that,' and as soon as I got in here I was like, ‘Well, of course, I’m going to do this every time it happens because it’s the most fun ever!’”

Garcia is talking about a new, growing trend called “conscious clubbing” – parties that happen once a month in the morning before people head to work. The parties are sober, featuring smoothies instead of shots of liquor, yoga and even free massages.

“These people put together such a tight, fun event that if you need alcohol or drugs, then you’re not doing the party right,” added Garcia.

McKenzie Brill founded the San Francisco chapter of Morning Gloryville, a group that hosts these sober morning parties all around the world, starting in London in 2013.

“San Francisco’s a city that celebrates diversity, and celebrates art and artistic expression,” Brill said. “That hits on all key points of this event. I knew there’d be an appetite for something like this, and San Francisco would eat it up.”

It’s $20 to get through the door for the four-hour party that lasts until 10:30 am. The idea is to rejuvenate before going into work.

“It’s nice to wake up in the morning and come to a sober dance party, instead of one that stays up all night long,” Juliana Cochnar said.

Kyra Joseph drove all the way from Santa Cruz to join the party.

“Everyone is so happy to be here. You don’t have to be on anything, some fresh juice and you’re good to go,” Joseph said. “Friends of friends are also coming from Santa Cruz just for the party. A couple of them actually drove back to Santa Cruz to go to work after.”

Sober clubbing isn’t new. Rob Novotny of San Francisco said he’s gone to one party in Sausalito for the greater part of the last decade. There’s one big difference: those are not on the weekdays.

“It sells out with 150 people, a little bigger than this,” said Novotny.

Morning Gloryville San Francisco has hosted the most recent parties at Inner Mission, a venue mostly used to host arts events. Brill said there can only be one or two more at the same place because the building has been sold, on the verge of condo development.

“We really hope to see places like this stay alive and continue to spread,” added Brill. “They’re homes to artists who otherwise done have sufficient space.”

Garcia agreed there needs to be more attention paid to the changing city. That’s why he says he’s here to do more than just dance.

“So I’m one of the tech nerds gentrifying the city, but I like to work really hard on not only coming to events like this, but producing weird art expos so I can push against the gentrification I do during the week.”

Once Garcia was ready to head out the door, he said he just has one goal for the rest of the day.

“I’m going to go take shower sit at my desk and pretend I'm a normal person!”

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area

Domestic Disputes Could Prompt Weapon Confiscation


Under a new proposal by the governor, a resident who legally possesses guns would have to surrender those weapons if he or she is involved in a domestic dispute and awaiting a hearing on a restraining order.

“We can take the gun out of a difficult situation at the moment," said State Rep. William Tong, a Democrat from Stamford, who chairs the General Assembly's Judiciary Committee.

"Fourteen days later we have a hearing; what we can’t do is take the bullet back. Once that’s been fired and someone’s been shot, there’s no going back from that,” Tong added.

Gun rights advocates are staunch opponents to the proposal.

Scott Wilson, president of the Connecticut Citizens Defense League, says the effort is just another attempt by top state officials to take guns away from people and infringe on their rights.

“Essentially, somebody makes a claim and then they force you to turn your firearms over within a 24 hour period without ever having your side heard," Wilson said.

He added that if someone is going to kill another person, he or she will find a way to do it with or without a firearm.

“There are people in domestic violence situations that have been murdered by bats, hammers, knives and by strangulation, and it’s far more frightening than firearms,” he said.

One such victim was Lori Jackson, a mother of two, who was killed by her estranged husband in her Oxford home last year.

“I knew sooner or later he was going to strike, but we didn’t think at this level," said Lori Jackson's mother, Merry, who was shot in the face during the dispute.

Lori Jackson and her husband Scott Gellatly were scheduled to have a hearing the next day on temporary restraining order.

Gellatly obtained his weapon from out of state, so this measure proposed in the General Assembly wouldn't have changed the outcome.

While Merry Jackson concedes that her daughter's case involved unique circumstances, she says that's not an excuse to sit back and do nothing.

"Something good has to come from something so terrible and if we can save one family from suffering the way we’ve had to suffer, it would be worth it,” she said.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Yale-Harvard Playoff Game to Air on Connecticut's Cozi TV


The Yale and Harvard men's basketball teams are vying for a spot in the NCAA tournament and will face off Saturday afternoon in a game you can only see on Connecticut's Cozi TV.

The Yale Bulldogs will attempt to unseat the reigning Ivy League champions in a playoff game that gets underway at 4 p.m. Saturday at the Palestra in Philadelphia.

With a record of 21-7, Harvard is ranked first among the Ivy League teams. Second-seeded Yale comes close behind, at 22-9.

The game will be broadcast on NBC Connecticut's sister station, Cozi TV.

Take a look at the listings below to see which channel you should turn to.

  • Broadcast: 30.2
  • Cablevision: 113, 118
  • Charter: 245
  • Comcast: 934
  • Cox: 800
  • Dish: 82
  • Frontier: 1067
  • Metrocast: 417

Former Stamford Teacher Sentenced in Student Sex Case


The former Stamford High School teacher accused of having a months-long sexual relationship with one of her students will spend five years in prison and 10 years on the state sex offender registry, according to the court.

Danielle Watkins, 32, was sentenced Wednesday on charges of sexual assault after having an intimate relationship with an 18-year-old student for nine months and threatening to fail him if he broke it off.

Watkins was originally arrested over the summer and was served a second warrant in January after allegedly confronting another student at a local coffee shop. Police said she had given him marijuana while he was in her English class.

"[You and your friend] have taken everything from my: my family, my kids, my job," Watkins told the second teen, according to the victim's attorney. "I will not rest until you are both dead."

Watkins was sentenced to 10 years in prison, suspended after five, along with 15 years' probation and 10 years on the sex offender registry. She must also comply with a protective order that requires her to stay away from the victims until March 2030.

She previously pleaded guilty to felony charges of second-degree sexual assault and risk of injury to a minor as part of a plea deal.

Two school administrators arrested after failing to report the student-teacher relationship were granted accelerated rehabilitation.

Photo Credit: Stamford Police Department

Homeless Man Punched CVS Worker, Demanded Money: Cops


Police have arrested the homeless man who they say punched a female CVS worker in the head as she was opening the store in Hamden and demanded money Wednesday morning.

Anthony Griffin, 35, confronted the employee around 6:40 a.m. Wednesday as she was unlocking the door to the CVS Pharmacy on Dixwell Avenue in Hamden.

He hit her in the head repeatedly, ordering her to open the store and "get the money," according to police. Griffin ran when the employee screamed.

Officers spotted him walking on Dixwell Avenue near Weybossett Street moments later. They chased an arrested Griffin and found him in possession of a hockey mask used during the robbery. Officers also found a BB gun he had thrown as he ran, according to police.

Griffin was charged with first-degree robbery, carrying a dangerous weapon, third-degree assault and interfering with an officer. He was held on $100,000 bond and was arraigned on Wednesday.

Photo Credit: Hamden Police Department

Polygraph Sheds New Light on Case of Kidnapping, Bank Heist


The bank manager at the center of a home invasion, kidnapping and attempted bank robbery case that paralyzed New Britain and Bristol late last month gave deceptive answers while taking a lie detector test, according to police sources.

Matthew Yussman, 46, has been under investigation since he was found strapped with what appeared to be an explosive device outside the Achieve Financial Credit Union in New Britain on Feb. 23.

His 70-year-old mother described finding her son face down in the garage at their Bristol home with his hands tied. She allegedly overheard two assailants saying they owed money and would kill Yussman and his mother if they didn't pay up.

Police in Bristol and New Britain have been working to unwind the stack and figure out what happened that day.

New Britain police administered a lie detector test the night of Feb. 23 and Yussman's answers were found to be deceptive, according to police sources.

Police have referred to Yussman as a victim in the past, but haven't ruled him out as a suspect either. In the days following the incident, police said they were looking for two assailants in connection with the case.

Investigators are looking at Yussman's cellphone, suitcase, duffel bag, a black headband and garbage bags taken from his car, the same one involved in the alleged robbery attempt. It's not yet clear what clues those items might provide.

Authorities continue to investigate the case. No charges have been filed.

Rock Cats Release Top 5 Contenders for New Team Name


The former New Britain Rock Cats have unveiled the top five contenders for the team's new name upon its move to Hartford in 2016.

The names were selected from among 6,000 submissions as part of a naming contest that ran from mid-February through early March.

The team released its top 10 selections last week and whittled down the list to five with the help of more than 35,000 online votes.

Here are the top five name choices:

  • Hedgehogs, a tribute to the insurance industry submitted by Ashley Picard
  • Praying Mantis, after the Connecticut state insect, submitted by Jackson Grady
  • River Hogs, a tribute to the Hog River that flows under the city of Hartford, submitted by Julio Concepcion
  • Whirlybirds, celebrating helicopter manufacturing, submitted by Keith Timme
  • Yard Goats, railroad slang for an engine that switches a train to get it ready for another locomotive to take over, submitted by Anthony Castora

The Rock Cats will unveil their new name at a press conference the afternoon of Wednesday, March 18.

The team's new label will be launched in April 2016 after the completion of Hartford's Downtown North development, which includes a new minor league baseball stadium.

Hartford St. Patrick's Day Parade Postponed Due to Forecast


The Hartford St. Patrick's Day parade has been postponed until next Saturday in light of inclement weather in the forecast, according to Hartford police.

The parade was originally scheduled for this Saturday, but we're expecting a possible wintry mix early Saturday morning changing over to a cold rain as the day progresses.

"In anticipation of the Saturday forecast, it is the committee’s determination that its goal could not be achieved in heavy rains and that the safety of our participants might be compromised in the event that early morning conditions involve any sort of icing," the parade organizers said in a statement Wednesday afternoon.

Hartford police said the parade will now kick off at 11 a.m. Saturday, March 21. Last year, the parade drew a crowd of 5,000.

"The Parade Committee would like to acknowledge the cooperation of the City of Hartford and our parade participants in adapting to this change and looks forward to a great day on Saturday the 21st," the organizers said.

The Annual Parade Mass will be held as scheduled at St. Patrick-St. Anthony Church at 7 p.m. on Friday, March 15.

More information on the parade is available online.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Patriots Sign Pass-Rusher Jabaal Sheard


One day after losing Darrelle Revis to the Jets, the Patriots have still not replaced the star cornerback. But they have added an outside linebacker and defensive end that could help ease the pain.

ProFootballTalk confirms the Pats have signed 25-year-old pass-rusher Jabaal Sheard away from the Cleveland Browns to a reported 2-year, $11 million deal.

As CSNNE's Phil Perry writes, the signing serves as a reminder of head coach Bill Belichick's philosophy that the secondary and the pass-rush are very much connected. While replacing a shutdown corner capable of stopping recievers as profoundly as Revis did is difficult (or impossible), using a player like Sheard to force a quarterback's hand can relieve the weakened seconary.

Sheard has recorded 23 sacks and forced seven fumbles in four seasons in Cleveland.

Photo Credit: Getty Images
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