Last mission to repair the Hubble telescope Hubble space telescope discoveries have enriched our understanding of the cosmos. In this special report, you will see facts about the Hubble space telescope, discoveries it has made and what the last mission's goals are.
For their own good
Fifty years ago, they were screwed-up kids sent to the Florida School for Boys to be straightened out. But now they are screwed-up men, scarred by the whippings they endured. Read the story and see a video and portrait gallery.
Fill out this form to email this article to a friend
Reluctant Pittman auctions his bike
By JOANNE KORTH
Published June 25, 2006
TAMPA - The day after Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger underwent seven hours of surgery to fix a broken jaw and other facial injuries, Bucs running back Michael Pittman came to an anguished decision.
He was done with motorcycles.
Roethlisberger, 24, was not wearing a helmet June 12 when a driver turned left in front of his motorcycle, causing him to slam facefirst into the car's windshield. He was lucky to escape greater injury.
Pittman, 30, made a habit of wearing a helmet while riding his Suzuki racing bike, among the fastest legal bikes on the street and his most cherished toy. So, when Pittman's wife, Melissa, asked him to get rid of his bike, he hesitated. A helmet once saved Pittman's life in an accident in Arizona.
But would it always?
Internet bidding for Pittman's lavishly customized, 115-horsepower TL 1000R reached $16,800 on Saturday. "I love bikes, grew up on bikes," Pittman said. "But being a smart player and smart person, man, I just had to do what I had to do. I've got four kids, a wife and a career.
"I love motorcycles and I'm one of the best riders, but somebody can just cut me off and there I go, even with a helmet on. I could kill myself, paralyze myself. I just had to give it up."
Bucs coach Jon Gruden can only hope others follow Pittman's safety-first lead.
The team wrapped up its lengthy offseason program last week with a three-day mandatory minicamp. For the next month, players are on their own. Unsupervised. Free to do as they wish until they report to training camp July 27.
Kind of scary, huh?
Already, a number of NFL players have run afoul of the law this offseason. And Roethlisberger's accident, though he might not miss any of the 2006 season, was a grim reminder of the dangers routinely incurred in the name of fun.
Are men who put their bodies at risk every time they put on a uniform really supposed to think twice about water skiing, bungee jumping or pickup basketball?
"There's been a lot of negative press across the NFL," cornerback Ronde Barber. "So, the coaches kind of hammered that messaged home. Everybody's going to be gone for the next month. I think the message for the next couple weeks is: "Be safe, stay in shape and do the things that are right.' "
It might seem the easiest way for teams to safeguard players would be to keep practicing. But the NFL does not allow it, and even work-a-holic Gruden acknowledges the need to take a break.
"These guys need to get away," Gruden said. "You can only beat them down so long, work them so long. You have to get yourself mentally and physically rejuvenated. We've got a long haul ahead of us and our players understand that. I think they're going to use good judgment.
"I think they realize the consequences if they don't."