View Full Version : Would you "do time" to be the starting punter?

09-14-2006, 08:49 AM
I guess this guy wasn't man enough to take out the long-snapper on the squad...


Sept. 14, 2006, 12:55AM

Harding-Kerrigan revisited
Northern Colorado punter stabbed in incident similar to skaters' episode
Associated Press

In a scenario reminiscent of Tonya Harding vs. Nancy Kerrigan, the backup punter at Northern Colorado has been accused of stabbing his rival in the leg his kicking leg.

Mitch Cozad, a sophomore from Wheatland, Wyo., allegedly attacked Rafael Mendoza in a parking lot this week. Arrested on a charge of second-degree assault, Cozad was freed Wednesday on a $30,000 bond.

Mendoza, who was treated and released at a Greeley, Colo., hospital, will miss at least Saturday's game at Texas State.

"Rafael is a competitor and wants to get back as soon as he can," said coach Scott Downing. "When that occurs, I don't know."

The incident conjured up images of the 1994 rivalry between figure skaters Harding and Kerrigan. Harding was banned from the sport for life after her former husband hired a hit man to smack Kerrigan on the knee with a crowbar.

"I guess the only identified motive (in the attack on Mendoza) at this point in time is the competition for that position," Evans, Colo., police Lt. Gary Kessler said.

But Downing wasn't so sure.

Cozad and Mendoza, a junior from the Denver suburb of Thornton, were competitive, he said, but no more than players at other positions.

"No different than starting quarterback or starting right tackle," the coach said. "Everyone was held accountable to the same level."

Asked if there was any jealousy between the two players, he said, "I have no idea. That would all be conjecture."

Cozad was suspended from the university and the team and was evicted from his dorm room, director of athletics Jay Hinrichs said.

Cozad had no listed phone number in Greeley, and a phone message left at his Wyoming address was not immediately returned.

The stabbing took place on Monday in Evans, a small town adjacent to Greeley and about 50 miles north of Denver. The Greeley Tribune first reported the story in Wednesday's editions.

Kessler said Mendoza, averaging 37.6 yards per punt on nine punts in the two games, was attacked from behind and stabbed in his right thigh after parking his car outside his Evans apartment about 9:30 p.m.

The assailant fled in a black Dodge Charger, Kessler said. About 10 minutes after the attack, a liquor store clerk told police that two men in a car matching that description stopped outside the store, stripped tape off the license plate and drove away.

The clerk gave police the license number, and the car was traced to Cozad, who was arrested Tuesday, Kessler said.

09-14-2006, 09:15 AM
I read this last night. Unreal. Got to appreciate that the guy wants to play, but...

Thank goodness the 1st-teamer will be okay. I think a few months in the county jail will be a good lesson for the one-time 2nd-teamer. Watch out for shanks in the jail though... it might hurt if someone sticks it in your body. Perhaps he understands this?

09-14-2006, 02:02 PM
To be the starting QB, maybe.;)

The punter, nah.

09-14-2006, 05:08 PM
How can they suspend Cozad? I mean, who's gonna punt?:)

I wonder if thia story had Larue thinking...

Chip R
10-20-2006, 01:58 PM
An update on this situation. I wonder if he will go with the "Attempted murder? Now honestly, what is that? Do they give a Nobel prize for attempted chemistry?" defense. ;)


Attempted first-degree murder charge filedAssociated Press

DENVER -- Prosecutors filed a charge of attempted first-degree murder against a former University of Northern Colorado backup punter accused of stabbing the starter in his kicking leg in a case that drew comparisons to the Tonya Harding-Nancy Kerrigan rivalry.

The charge, filed Thursday, accuses Mitchell Cozad of stabbing Rafael Mendoza on Sept. 11 outside Mendoza's apartment.

Cozad, 21, of Wheatland, Wyo., also faces one count of second-degree assault. Prosecutors said he could face up to 48 years in prison if convicted.

Weld County district attorney's spokeswoman Jennifer Finch said a warrant was issued for Cozad's arrest and bail would be set at $500,000. She said he was not yet in custody and she did not know where he was.

His attorney, Joseph A. Gavaldon, did not immediately return a call Friday. A man who answered Cozad's mobile phone number on Thursday hung up without commenting.

Police Lt. Gary Kessler has said the motive appeared to be competition for the starting job. The attack prompted comparisons to an attack by Olympic skater Harding's hit man on Kerrigan.

The severity of the charge surprised some.

"Based on the facts we've heard, it does sound a little over the top," said Scott Robinson, a Denver defense attorney and legal analyst.

He said prosecutors may be trying to pressure Cozad to identify an accomplice or intimidate him into accepting a plea bargain.

Investigators have said they were looking for an alleged accomplice. Finch said Friday there have been no other arrests in the case.

Finch said that after their investigation, prosecutors felt the attempted murder and assault counts "were the appropriate charges." She did not elaborate.

Mendoza was treated for a 3- to 5-inch deep puncture wound in his right thigh and released. He has returned to the team.

Cozad was suspended from the team and the university.

Mendoza did not immediately return a message and missed practice Thursday because of an illness unrelated to his leg injury, Northern Colorado spokesman Eric Scott said.

The team has a bye week before facing Sacramento State Oct. 28.

"We support the Weld County DA's office in their ongoing investigation," coach Scott Downing said after practice.

Weld County District Attorney Kenneth R. Buck last month delayed filing charges in the case, saying he needed more information.

Mendoza told The Associated Press this month he is struggling with flashbacks from the attack.

"It's been tough, and scary," he said. "It's hard for [my family], it's hard for me, it's hard for them wondering what's going to happen. But I know they [authorities] are doing their job. They're doing everything they possibly can to let justice run its course."

10-20-2006, 05:14 PM
If I'm a special teamer, I'd do it to be the K, but not the P. Gotta have standards, ya know.