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  • Discussion thread for baseball

    I merged a bunch of threads here and I'm not sure if they all relate to baseball, so feel free to create a new thread for another sport if you want to talk about that.
    - mitch01
    WORLD CUPNIZHNY NOVGOROD Joakim Nordstrom Jersey Womens , Russia (AP) With the country’s most one-sided World Cup victory, England advanced to the last 16 with a game by spare.Harry Kane scored a hat trick in Sunday’s 6-1 rout of Panama, giving England its biggest victory margin at the World Cup in its highest-scoring game since 1966.That previous high-scoring affair turned out well, too, with England beating Germany 4-2 to win its only World Cup title.Four years ago, England failed to win a match at the World Cup and was eliminated in the group stage. On Sunday, England was taking on a weaker team: A Panama side making its World Cup debut. The loss eliminated Panama and Tunisia, while putting Belgium into the round of 16.Kane’s three goals moved him into the lead with five at this year’s tournament, one more than Cristiano Ronaldo and Romelu Lukaku after two games.KAZAN, Russia (AP) – Radamel Falcao’s first World Cup goal led Colombia to a 3-0 victory over Poland on Sunday and kept the team in the running for a spot in the knockout round.Falcao had been expected to lead the team at the last World Cup in Brazil, but he injured his knee ahead of the tournament and missed Colombia’s run to the quarterfinals. Healthy again, the Monaco striker scored with the outside of his foot in the 70th minute after a superb pass from playmaker Juan Quintero in the back of the defense.Poland, which has two losses, was eliminated.Yerry Mina scored the first goal in the 40th and Juan Cuadrado completed the win in the 75th.GOLFCROMWELL, Conn. (AP) – Bubba Watson overcame a six-stroke deficit to win his third Travelers Championship title, shooting a 7-under 63 on Sunday for a three-stroke victory at TPC River Highlands.Watson became the first three-time winner on the PGA Tour this season, and pulled within one of Billy Casper’s tournament record of four victories.Watson finished at 17-under 263. Third-round leader Paul Casey, Stewart Cink, Beau Hossler and J.B. Holmes tied for second. Casey shot 72, Cink 62, Hossler 66 and Holmes 67.Watson came from six back to win the 2010 event for his first tour title, and beat Casey in a playoff in 2015.ROGERS, Ark. (AP) – Japanese teenager Nasa Hataoka ran away with the NW Arkansas Championship on Sunday for her first PGA Tour titleThe 19-year-old Hataoka won by six strokes, closing with an 8-under 63 at Pinnacle Country Club for a tournament-record 21-under 192 total. She broke the mark of 18 under set last year by So Yeon Ryu.Hataoka won twice late last year on the Japan LPGA and has finished in the top 10 in five of her last six LPGA Tour stars, including a playoff loss last month in the Kingsmill Championship. Hataoka began the round tied with Minjee Lee for the lead.Austin Ernst shot a 65 to finish second.MADISON, Wis. (AP) – Scott McCarron won the American Family Insurance Championship on Sunday Christopher Tanev Jersey , closing with an 8-under 64 for a one-stroke victory over hometown player Jerry Kelly.The 52-year-old McCarron birdied Nos. 14-16 and parred the final two to hold on for his first victory of the season and seventh in three years on the PGA Tour Champions. He finished at 15-under 201 at University Ridge. Kelly shot 65, also parring the final two holes.AUTO RACINGSONOMA, Calif. (AP) – Martin Truex Jr. won the NASCAR Cup Series race in Sonoma on Sunday, using a clever pit strategy to cruise to his second career victory on the challenging road course.Truex easily held off Kevin Harvick for his second win in three weeks and his third victory of the season in his Furniture Row Racing Toyota.The defending Cup Series champion waited to pit until the 81st lap, a full eight laps later than Harvick. Truex and his crew chief, Cole Pearn, appeared to use a bit of trickery on the decision, bluffing an earlier move to the pits and enticing Harvick into pit lane instead. The decision left fresher tires on Truex’s car down the stretch and allowed him to pass Harvick for the lead around the final hairpin turn with 20 laps to go.ELKHART LAKE, Wis. (AP) – Pole sitter Josef Newgarden dominated the IndyCar race at Road America on Sunday, leading 53 of 55 laps for his third victory of the season.The defending series champion crossed the finish line with a comfortable 3.38-second cushion over second-place finisher Ryan Hunter-Reay. Points leader Scott Dixon finished third, part of the three-car pack that separated from the field with about 13 laps to go in the road race.The victory completed an impressive weekend for the Team Penske driver at the 14-turn, 222-mile-long track, where Newgarden’s No. 1 Chevy registered the top speed in in practice. He returned to the podium following a five-race stretch finishing no higher than eighth, dropping him from first to fifth in the driver standings.LE CASTELLET, France (AP) – Lewis Hamilton capitalized on a mistake by rival Sebastian Vettel to enjoy a wire-to-wire victory at the French Grand Prix on Sunday and retake the lead in the Formula One title race.Starting third behind Hamilton and Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas, Vettel tried to use his faster set of tires to make a good start. But the German’s lunge on the inside of the first corner crunched his Ferrari into the back of Bottas, damaging both cars and sending them into the pits for repairs. Vettel emerged with a new front wing and the entire field to fight through, and even though he made quick work of the slower cars he had to settle for a fifth-place finish.Red Bull’s Max Verstappen and Kimi Raikkonen in his Ferrari crossed second and third to complete the podium at the Paul Ricard Circuit. Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo was fourth.BEAVER DAM, Wis. (AP) – Sprint car driver Jason Johnson died following a crash at Beaver Dam Raceway in Wisconsin, race officials said Sunday. He was 41.Johnson was injured during a World of Outlaws race Saturday night at the 1/3-mile-long dirt oval, the series said. It said the driver from Eunice, Louisiana, crashed on lap 18 of a 40-lap race while racing for the lead and was taken to a hospital.The series posted a message Sunday morning on Twitter saying that Johnson had died.TENNISHALLE, Germany (AP) – Borna Coric defeated defending champion Roger Federer 7-6 (6), 3-6, 6-2 to win the Gerry Weber Open final on Sunday.The 21-year-old Croat saved three of the four break points he faced and took his second match point to end Federer’s 20-match winning streak on grass for his second career title.Coric Authentic Daniel Sedin Jersey , who defeated second-seeded Alexander Zverev in the first round, saved two set points in the first set tiebreaker.Federer, who skipped the entire clay-court season for the second year in a row, had been going for his 99th title, one week after taking his 18th grass-court title in Stuttgart. It would have been a record-extending 10th title from his 12th final in Halle.LONDON (AP) – Marin Cilic saved a match point on his way to defeating Novak Djokovic 5-7, 7-6 (4), 6-3 on Sunday as he claimed a second Queen’s Club title.The top-seeded Croat first won the Wimbledon warmup event in 2012, but was the runner-up in 2013 and also lost to Feliciano Lopez in last year’s final. Having saved six break points, Djokovic struck with the first chance of his own to clinch a draining 67-minute first set, before a reversal of fortunes in the second.The 12-time Grand Slam champion wasted an early opportunity to break before Cilic saved a match point at 4-5 and then won six points from 4-1 down in the tiebreaker to level the match. Cilic produced a stunning forehand passing shot on his way to breaking for a 5-3 lead in the decider and then delivered a nerveless service game to close out the match in just under three hours.HOCKEYThe Washington Capitals have re-signed John Carlson to a $64 million, eight-year contract that allows the Stanley Cup champions to keep the do-it-all defenseman.Carlson will count $8 million against the salary cap through the 2026-27 season. General manager Brian MacLellan announced the deal Sunday.The 28-year-old who has made the Washington area his home and wanted to stay if there was a fit. The Capitals got the cap space necessary to re-sign Carlson by trading veteran defenseman Brooks Orpik and backup goaltender Philipp Grubauer on Friday night at the NHL draft.Carlson outperformed his last deal that paid him just under $4 million a season and was at his best in a contract year. He led all defensemen with 68 points in the regular season and 20 in the playoffs to help Washington win the Metropolitan Division and then the Stanley Cup. The contract makes Carlson the second-highest-paid player on the Capitals behind Alex Ovechkin. A linesman orders Sean Couturier out of the faceoff circle and Claude Giroux shrugs before stepping in and winning the draw.Two centers on the ice at once is a nice luxury for the Philadelphia Flyers to have.”He’s one of the best in the league at faceoffs,” Couturier said of Giroux, who ranks third in the NHL. ”When you start with the puck, it’s a huge part of the game.”Beyond just controlling faceoffs, having depth at center is a growing factor for success in the NHL. Contenders like the Flyers, Tampa Bay Lightning, Nashville Predators, Winnipeg Jets and two-time defending Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins all boast depth down the middle and are spreading centers all over the lineup.The flexibility gives teams potentially game-altering matchups with the playoffs coming up in a month.”You can never have enough center-ice men on your team for lots of reasons,” Penguins coach Mike Sullivan said.Crucial faceoffs, injuries and defensive-zone coverage are many of the reasons to load up on centers who can almost always shift to wing and not miss a beat. Philadelphia has long followed the model of drafting and acquiring centers and moving them around, and now has nine natural centers on its roster.The Penguins won the 2009 Stanley Cup going with Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Jordan Staal and Max Talbot down the middle and captured it the past two years with Crosby, Malkin, Nick Bonino and Matt Cullen. The free agent departures of Bonino and Cullen left a void that Pittsburgh filled by trading for Derick Brassard and Riley Sheahan to again look like a championship contender.”To have the depth that we have at this point at the center-ice position is I think an important aspect of our overall game,” Sullivan said. ”We didn’t have that coming into training camp. I think our general manager Womens Derek Dorsett Jersey , Jim (Rutherford), has worked extremely hard at making sure that he gave us what has become now I think a strength of our team.”It’s also a strength of the Eastern Conference-leading Lightning, who are overflowing with center options beyond Steven Stamkos, Alex Killorn and trade-deadline pickup J.T. Miller. The Toronto Maple Leafs also roll deep with forwards who play center or have in the past, including Patrick Marleau and recent acquisition Tomas Plekanec.”I can get a can’t-miss matchup,” Toronto coach Mike Babcock said. ”You’re not scared of any matchup as time goes on.”It’s all about the matchups in the arms race that is the absurd Central Division. It wasn’t good enough that the Central-leading Predators had Ryan Johansen, signed Bonino last summer and traded for Kyle Turris in November; they welcomed center Mike Fisher back from retirement and still have Colton Sissons and Craig Smith.The Jets acquired center Paul Stastny from the St. Louis Blues to add to an already forward-heavy roster. It paid immediate dividends with Patrik Laine extending his point streak to 13 games and Winnipeg cruising along after Mark Scheifele went down with an injury.”We’ll be putting two centers out there for D-zone draws and whatnot,” said Andrew Copp, who thinks Winnipeg’s center depth stacks up with the best in the league. ”That’s really important, and then just depth with injuries. … Now we’ve got six, seven, eight guys that we can really lean on.”It’s an increasingly popular strategy. The Flyers are vying for the league lead in faceoffs, handling the early-season crackdown on faceoff violations and compensating for a young, mostly unproven defense with versatile forwards.”Being strong up the middle is important,” coach Dave Hakstol said. ”That’s the backbone of every line, so to have guys that are comfortable in that spot I think is important. Playing down low in your zone – there’s so much switching and interchanging that goes on from the wing to that down-low position in coverage, having somebody that’s comfortable being down there I think is a benefit, as well.”Two centers are better than one not just for faceoffs but because the extra responsibilities of the position allow for better awareness in the defensive zone, where wingers typically are only tasked with defending their respective opposing winger in man-to-man schemes. Giroux shifted to wing on the top line with Couturier after spending the past eight-plus years at center and is approaching his career high in points and playing some of the best hockey of his career.”We get a read off each other,” said Couturier, a leading candidate for the Selke Trophy as the NHL’s best defensive forward. ”It’s about chemistry and trying to trust each other out there. Guys can fill in different roles and it’s nice and it helps the team. That’s what you kind of want from having so many centermen is you want to fill in each other’s roles.”Having extra centers is a substantial benefit – if they can handle the position change. Winnipeg captain Blake Wheeler made a rapid adjustment from wing to center amid injuries, but just about everyone agrees it’s much easier to go the other way.”There’s a real quick adjustment to going from center to the wing: figure out how to work the walls and find your point men,” Jets coach Paul Maurice said. ”That’s a very difficult change.”—
    Last edited by mitch01; 27th November 2018, 12:21.

  • #2

    Dallas Cowboys defensive end Randy Gregory http://www.dallascowboysteamonline.c...n-smith-jersey , who was suspended all of last season over multiple violations of the NFL's substance-abuse policy, was reinstated Tuesday.
    Gregory can join the Cowboys at training camp in California next week and will be eligible for games as long as he continues to meet the terms of his reinstatement, the league said. The team reports to Oxnard on July 24, two days before its first practice.
    The NFL said Gregory was immediately eligible for meetings, conditioning work and "similar activities" and would be cleared for practices and games once "arrangements have been confirmed regarding Gregory's clinical resources in Dallas."
    The 25-year-old Gregory last played in the 2016 regular-season finale Daryl Johnston Jersey , when the former Nebraska standout had his first career sack at the end of his second season. He was suspended before Dallas' playoff loss to Green Bay, his third suspension of the season.
    Gregory slid to the Cowboys at the end of the second round in 2015 because of off-field concerns that included a positive test for marijuana at the NFL combine.
    The Cowboys have backed Gregory's attempt to return to the field, with several teammates writing letters of recommendation to the NFL as part of the process of him applying for reinstatement.
    Owner and general manager Jerry Jones, whose recent second-round gambles in the draft haven't paid off, has praised Gregory's character repeatedly during the pass rusher's absence.
    Gregory was considered one of the best pass rushers in his draft Quenton Nelson Jersey , and there was promise early with a strong rookie training camp. Gregory vowed he wanted to make good on his word to Jones that he could control his issues with marijuana.
    But he only made it through one season, and didn't have a sack while missing four games with an ankle injury.
    The first suspension was announced in February 2016, and he was away from the team during training camp while in rehab. The second suspension came seven months later. Gregory remained with the team while serving the 14-game ban before playing in the final two games.
    The yearlong suspension kept Gregory from participating in club activities and banned him from team facilities except for sessions with the person in charge of his treatment.
    A statement from police in Milton, Georgia doesn’t mention Bills running back LeSean McCoy, but it also raises more questions about exactly what happened to trigger allegations of domestic violence.
    According to Mike Rodak of Harrison Phillips Jersey , the police report described a targeted home invasion.
    “On July 10, 2018 at approximately 3:18 A.M., Milton Police responded to a home invasion at a residence on Hickory Pass near the Cherokee County line, the statement read. “The preliminary investigation indicates that this residence was specifically targeted by the suspect or suspects, and not a random incident. When officers arrived they found one victim who had been physically assaulted by a lone intruder.
    “During the altercation http://www.washingtonredskinsteamonl...everett-jersey , the suspect demanded specific items from the victim. An adult female victim was treated and released at North Fulton Regional Hospital. A second adult female victim also sustained a minor injury during the incident.”
    McCoy has denied any involvement, and the league and the Bills have issued the usual statements saying they were looking into the matter.
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    • #3

      Talk about making the most of opportunities. Look at what New Jersey Devils goaltender Keith Kinkaid has done the last 10 weeks.
      Not only did he take over in late January after starter Cory Schneider was injured Authentic Brock Nelson Jersey , he carried the Devils over the final two-plus months and heads into their first playoffs since 2012 as the No. 1 goaltender.
      Coach John Hynes on Tuesday refused to name his starting goaltender for Thursday night’s opener of the best-of-7 series with the Tampa Bay Lightning.
      There is, however, little doubt – Kinkaid will be starting his first postseason game. The 28-year-old undrafted free agent posted a 19-6-1 record after Schneider went down with hip and groin injuries. He had a 10-1-1 run in the 12 games that led to the Devils clinching a playoff berth Thursday.
      From Feb 13 to Apr. 5, Kinkaid had a 16-3-1 mark, a 2.32 goals-against average and .929 save percentage. The win total was the most by an NHL goalie in the span.
      ”He is a gamer,” veteran center Brian Boyle said. ”He competes. He never gives up on plays, especially down the stretch he has given us a real jolt and lifted us up. He’s been a huge part of our team.”
      Kinkaid is never too high, never too low. He lets in a goal, shrugs it off and gets ready for the next play.
      It’s not like when Marty Brodeur played and there were chants of ”Mar-tee, Mar-tee” after every big save. Or when Schneider was playing well and chants of ”CORE-EE” filled the Prudential Center. Kinkaid seems to go unnoticed.
      The 6-foot-3 goalie acknowledges that a few more fans recognize him lately, and he has been getting more texts.
      ”I take it with a grain of salt,” he said. ”There is still a lot of work to do.”
      Kinkaid said his approach to the postseason won’t change.
      ”You can’t take this any different from what we did at the end of the season when we had to win pretty much all our games to get in,” said Kinkaid, who got a rare night off in the regular-season finale Saturday. ”It’s no different here.”
      Devils captain Andy Greene said the toughest job for a backup – which Kinkaid handled for the past three seasons – is showing what you can do. It’s especially hard when the backup plays in the second game of a back-to-back and his team is tired.
      ”This time, he knew going in he was going to have some time Josh Bailey Jersey ,” Greene said. ”He worked really hard in practice and you can see just how much more confident he is. Like I said 30 times. He is very square to the puck, confident, and when you are feeling that way, the puck seems to find you. He has been a rock back there and we are just feeding off him.”
      Center Travis Zajac, who along with Greene are the only leftovers from the Devils’ team that played in the Stanley Cup Finals, said this is the best he has seen Kinkaid play.
      ”He has always made big plays, but now he is doing it more consistently,” Zajac said. ”He has given us a chance to win every night. I think that’s the main thing. You just see that consistency in his game, where he is not letting any weak goals in. He is confident now, and that’s a big part of it, too.”
      Hynes said Kinkaid has gotten better along the way.
      ”That’s preparation, his mental focus, his ability to get to a high level, night in and night out,” Hynes said. ”That’s an improvement for him to go from a guy who didn’t play every night to that and perform real well. That has allowed him to take advantage of his opportunity.”

      More NHL hockey: It's easy to wonder which quarterback will make the biggest impact on Sunday's game between the Titans and Dolphins.
      Ryan Tannehill?
      Marcus Mariota?
      Luke Falk?
      Yes Roman Josi Jersey , Falk, a fourth-string rookie who won't even play, has altered preparations by both teams. Miami signed him last week after he was released by Tennessee on cutdown day, and the Dolphins are sure to pick his brain about the Titans' scheme under rookie coach Mike Vrabel.
      All of which adds lends another layer of unpredictability to the season opener.
      Here are things to know about two teams who didn't excite preseason prognosticators:
      Ryan Tannehill returns after missing the Dolphins' past 20 games, and says he'll be ready rather than rusty. He's coming off reconstructive knee surgery that wiped out his entire 2017 season, and says he never doubted he would be ready for the 2018 opener.
      "I always felt confident that this would be where we ended up," he said. "It's finally here and I'm ready to go."
      While Tannehill has never played in the postseason, counterpart Marcus Mariota is trying to become the first quarterback to lead the Titans to the playoffs in back-to-back years since Steve McNair in 2002-03.
      That will require proving wrong the oddsmakers who predict Tennessee will win eight games. Miami, led by third-year coach Adam Gase, is widely projected to repeat last year's 6-10 record.
      While Falk will be able to provide the Dolphins some insight into Sunday's matchup, Vrabel says it could have been worse.
      The Titans' new coach wanted to install the entire offense during training camp, but offensive coordinator Matt LaFleur 鈥?mindful the team would have to waive some players 鈥?talked him out of it.
      "He wanted to hold some stuff," Vrabel said. "I said, 'OK, I'll defer to you on this one.' As it turns out Mike Condon Jersey , he was kind of right. There'll be some things that I'm sure Luke can give them. But then again, I am glad that Matt was adamant about holding some stuff until cutdown day. I think he had been burned by some of that stuff in the past."
      The Dolphins kept some of their playbook under wraps during the preseason, too. They're expected to have packages for veteran newcomer Albert Wilson and rookie tight end Mike Gesicki that they didn't show in exhibition games.
      "There were a few plays going into Week 3 that Gase wanted to run," Tannehill said with a smile. "I said, 'Hey, those are great plays. Let's save those.' We have some things that we haven't shown that we're excited about."
      NFL active rushing leader Frank Gore will make his Dolphins debut, and at 35 he's thrilled to return to South Florida, where he was born and raised and starred for the Miami Hurricanes.
      Gore will play in his 113th consecutive game, and he needs 76 yards to become fourth-leading rusher in league history.
      Miami and Tennessee added former Patriots teammates during the offseason. Receiver Danny Amendola joined the Dolphins, while the Titans acquired cornerback Malcolm Butler. The Titans' other starting cornerback, Logan Ryan, is another Amendola friend and former Patriots teammate.
      Tennessee's secondary also includes All-Pro safety Kevin Byard and cornerback Adoree Jackson, who started every game as a rookie last year.
      "We're super excited to see what we've got," Ryan said. "It's the most excited I've been to start a season off."
      The Titans have won five consecutive road openers Tim Schaller Jersey , the NFL's longest such streak. Three of those came in season openers. The streak includes three coaches, and three of the victories came by 16 points or more, including last year's 37-16 victory at Jacksonville in Week 2.
      "The mindset is to win," linebacker Brian Orakpo said. "I mean, it's point blank, period, win. Win ballgames. Take it week by week and win, no matter if it's 50-49 or 3-0."
      Teresa M. Walker in Nashville, Tennessee, contributed to this report.
      Follow Steven Wine on Twitter: ://Steve_Wine
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      • #4

        The New York Jets have re-signed offensive lineman Dakota Dozier.
        The Jets also announced Friday that offensive lineman Brent Qvale has signed his restricted free agent tender Derick Brassard Jersey , worth $1.907 million this year.
        Both Dozier and Qvale add depth and versatility to an offensive line that includes newcomers Spencer Long and Travis Swanson.
        Dozier was a fourth-round draft pick of the Jets in 2014 out of Furman. He set career highs last season with 14 games played with three starts. He has appeared in 32 career games for New York with five starts.
        Qvale was signed by New York as an undrafted free agent out of Nebraska in 2014. He has started 12 games for the Jets, including seven at right tackle, four as a jumbo tight end and one at right guard.
        Prosecutors will not bring criminal charges against Buffalo Bills receiver Zay Jones after a naked, bloody argument with his brother in Los Angeles earlier this week.
        Los Angeles prosecutors declined the case because of "insufficient evidence," district attorney's office spokesman Paul Eakins told The Associated Press on Thursday.
        The 22-year-old Jones was arrested after officers were called to a disturbance in downtown Los Angeles Dan Hamhuis Jersey Kids , said police spokesman Luis Garcia. Jones was found "breaking glass doors and windows" and arrested on suspicion of felony vandalism, Garcia said.
        The arrest was first reported by TMZ, which posted a video showing a nude Zay Jones pushing his brother, Cayleb, in what appeared to be the hallway of an apartment building.
        His agent Mike Green Jersey , Zeke Sandhu, did not reply to text and voicemail messages. Sandhu also represents Cayleb Jones.
        Cayleb Jones, a Minnesota Vikings receiver, on Wednesday also posted a note on his Twitter account, which read: "I am my brothers keeper."
        His father Ondrej Palat Jersey , Robert Jones, posted a note on his Twitter account on Wednesday saying his son "is with me and his mom," while adding "he's going to be fine!"
        The Bills had no immediate comment.
        Associated Press writer John Wawrow in Buffalo, New York, contributed to this report.
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        • #5
          Ryan Fitzpatrick has gone into seasons as a starting quarterback and he’s gone into seasons as a backup quarterback Christian Dvorak Jersey , but he’d never gone into the season as a starter because the guy ahead of him on the depth chart has been suspended until this year.
          Jameis Winston‘s ban means Fitzpatrick is in line to start at least the first three games of the 2018 season for the Buccaneers.
          “I mean, I thought I had seen and been through it all but another year, just another different situation,” Fitzpatrick said , via the Tampa Bay Times.
          With games against the Saints, Eagles and Steelers on tap in the first three weeks, the Bucs will need to be sharp right out of the gate if they are going to avoid hamstringing themselves in the standings. Fitzpatrick said he isn’t looking that far ahead, but will be counting on his teammates to help carry the load once they do get to the regular season.
          “I mean Zach Hyman Jersey , the season hasn’t even started yet,” Fitzpatrick said. “It’s a clich茅. It’s one game at a time but you have to look at it that way. Not even based off last year talent wise, looking at the team we have out here, I get in that huddle on offense and I mean Youth Evgeni Malkin Jersey , it’s a pretty exciting huddle to be in as a quarterback looking at some of those guys.”
          Fitzpatrick went 2-1 as a starter for Tampa last season. That was his 10th straight season making at least three starts in a season — he also made three starts for the Rams in 2005 before that streak started — and the Bucs are the seventh team that Fitzpatrick has started that many games for in a single season.
          None of that should have any bearing on how he fares this year, but it does support the notion that there isn’t much Fitzpatrick hasn’t seen at this point of his career.
          Los Angeles Rams safety Lamarcus Joyner will begin training camp on the non-football injury list.
          The Rams made the decision Wednesday during annual preseason conditioning tests. The club didn't disclose any details of Joyner's injury.
          Joyner can return from the list at any point, and the Rams need him healthy to be a key contributor to their defense.
          The former cornerback moved to safety last season under defensive coordinator Wade Phillips. Joyner made 49 tackles and returned one of his career-high nine interceptions for a touchdown.
          Joyner will make $11.28 million this season while playing under the franchise tag after he failed to reach a long-term contract agreement with the Rams earlier this month.
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          • #6
            OXNARD Womens Henrik Zetterberg Jersey , Calif. (AP) Dak Prescott’s best test yet as the new face of the Cowboys came two days after owner Jerry Jones once again declared that all Dallas players will stand for the national anthem and even said they wouldn’t be afforded the alternative of staying in the locker room.
            The star quarterback didn’t pause or stammer. He didn’t stop himself to consider what his peers might think. He made it clear he will stand, and doesn’t think it’s right to do otherwise.
            ”Whether I was wearing the star or not, whether I was playing for Jerry Jones, Stephen Jones or any other owner, I believe in what I believe in and that’s that,” Prescott said Friday in his first session with reporters at training camp.
            Jerry Jones held his usual camp-opening news conference Wednesday, and said his usual things about the anthem, and then some. Son Stephen Jones, executive vice president of personnel , suggested a day later that the Cowboys would cut any player who stayed in the locker room.
            The option of staying off the field was part of a policy owners approved in May, but was put on hold not long after The Associated Press revealed that the Miami Dolphins would consider suspending players up to four games for kneeling or otherwise protesting during the anthem.
            Just as he did when he showed up two years ago as the overshadowed third quarterback on Tony Romo’s team, Prescott offered his opinion plainly and simply, and in so many words. There are countless more people listening now.
            ”He knows how important that is to be one of the faces of the team and he always does exactly what you’d expect, to a script,” offensive coordinator Scott Linehan said. ”It’s not forced. It’s just part of him.”
            Prescott replaced an injured Romo in 2016 and had one of the best rookie seasons for a quarterback in NFL history while leading Dallas to an NFC-best 13 wins and ultimately sending Romo into retirement.
            Now 15-year tight end Jason Witten and franchise touchdown catch leader Dez Bryant are gone. The former Mississippi State standout is the leading voice, and not hesitating to use it.
            ”I’d never protest during the anthem, and I don’t think that’s the time or the venue to do so,” Prescott said while adding that he respected the right of others to protest. ”We know about social injustice. I’m up for taking a next step J.T. Miller Jersey , whatever that step may be for action and not just kneeling.”
            Prescott didn’t have any immediate specifics for that community action, but it’ll be a few months before he can concentrate on it fully. Right now he’s trying to get the Cowboys back to the playoffs after his encore fell flat.
            Dallas missed the postseason at 9-7 last season, clouded by the fight over the six-game suspension that Prescott’s fellow rookie sensation, running back Ezekiel Elliott, finally had to serve halfway through the year.
            ”It was just a lot of mental mistakes, a lot of things that I feel like I don’t normally do,” said Prescott, who had 13 interceptions a year after throwing just four while setting an NFL rookie record for passer rating. ”I feel like I thought a lot about different things last year within the games and that’s something I’m going to try to eliminate.”
            The Cowboys are unproven at tight end and receiver after Witten retired and the Cowboys decided to release Bryant in a cost-cutting move. Cole Beasley has the longest Dallas tenure among the receivers, and Terrance Williams is the only other pass-catcher who was on the roster for Prescott’s rookie season.
            ”Really last year was a struggle. He had some breakdowns at other spots that made it tough on him Mikkel Boedker Jersey ,” Beasley said. ”Good or bad or ugly, he’s the same person through and through. That’s what you want from your quarterback. Because that’s how it is in games.”
            Elliott doesn’t have a possible suspension looming this season, and at the moment an offensive line that was an issue a year ago is healthy with a new piece in second-round pick Connor Williams. The former Texas player is working as the starting left guard in camp.
            Not long before coming to California, Prescott spent time with some of his untested receiving corps in Florida. Now he goes about figuring out life without Witten and Bryant.
            ”We’re past that,” he said. ”We had the whole (offseason practices) and minicamps to kind of get over that stage. Those are guys I’ve said before you can’t replace. But when you get out here, you just see the youthfulness that we have, how young this team is and the energy.”
            With a new leading voice.

            The Bears made wide receiver Allen Robinson a centerpiece of their offense when they signed him to a three-year, $42 million deal as a free agent this offseason despite the torn ACL that brought his 2017 season to an end in Week One.
            Bears coach Matt Nagy said earlier this month that Robinson was doing everything the team wanted, which did not include any on-field work as part of their OTAs. That changed on Wednesday Aleksander Barkov Jersey , however.
            Several reporters at Bears practice shared video of Robinson’s first practice work with his new team and Nagy shared his happiness about the step forward after the session.
            “It鈥檚 really good to see him out there. It鈥檚 a positive sign when he鈥檚 out there to run some plays,” Nagy said, via Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune.
            Nagy said he does not expect Robinson to do team drills during next week’s mandatory minicamp, but the signs are good for full participation in training camp.


            • #7
              The Jets haven’t reached agreement on a contract with quarterback Sam Darnold with rookies reporting to training camp on Tuesday and it appears Darnold won’t be checking in as a result.
              Ian Rapoport of NFL Media reports that Darnold is not expected to report with the rest of the team’s first-year players and will not report until his contract is done.
              Bears linebacker Roquan Smith found himself in the same position when his fellow rookies reported for work and his absence has extended beyond the veteran reporting date and official start of camp. Thursday is the day when the Jets veterans are set to report with the first camp practice set for Friday Womens Jared Goff Jersey , so there’s still time for the two sides to iron out their differences before Darnold misses on-field time.
              Darnold and Smith are two of seven unsigned picks from the 2018 draft. Six of those players are first-round picks, including both of the players selected by the Browns to open the draft.
              The Jacksonville Jaguars have removed defensive end Dante Fowler from the physically unable to perform list.
              Fowler missed the first two weeks of training camp while recovering from a shoulder injury sustained late last season.
              Coach Doug Marrone says "we will work him back in there. I am excited to see him. He's put in a lot of work and (we get to) see him on the field , see what he can do."
              It's a big year for Fowler, the third overall pick in the 2015 NFL draft. The former Florida standout is entering the final year of his rookie contract. He has 12 sacks in the last two seasons Oliver Ekman-Larsson Jersey , plus two more in the AFC championship game at New England.
              Also Saturday, the Jaguars signed fifth-year cornerback Kenneth Acker and undrafted rookie cornerback Bryce Canady. The team parted ways with cornerbacks Dexter McDougle and Charlie Miller.
              Buffalo Bills Elite Jerseys


              • #8

                Jenrry Mejia will get another opportunity to pitch in the major leagues.
                Nearly 2 years after becoming the first player to receive a lifetime suspension under Major League Baseball’s drug program Authentic Alexander Radulov Jersey , the New York Mets reliever was given conditional reinstatement Friday and could return to the big leagues in 2019.
                Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred said Mejia will be able to participate in non-public workouts in the team’s facilities after the All-Star break and will be eligible for a minor league rehabilitation assignment in mid-August. If Mejia meets specified conditions, such as not testing positive again for a banned substance, he would be eligible to resume all baseball activities when spring training starts in February.
                Mejia was suspended for life on Feb. 12, 2016, after his third positive test for a banned steroid. The drug agreement allowed him to apply a year later for reinstatement that would be effective a minimum two years after the ban started, with the decision at the commissioner’s discretion.
                Manfred had a meeting with Mejia in 2017, after the application to return to baseball was submitted.
                ”Mr. Mejia expressed regret for poor choices he made in the past and assured me that, if reinstated, he would adhere to the terms of the (drug) program going forward,” Manfred said in a statement. ”In light of Mr. Mejia’s contrition, his commitment to comply with the program in the future Mathew Barzal Jersey , and the fact that he will have already spent almost four consecutive years suspended without pay, I have decided to grant Mr. Mejia a final chance to resume his professional career.”
                A right-hander who turns 29 in October, Mejia was the Mets’ closer in 2014, then was suspended for 80 games on April 11, 2015, following a positive test for Stanozolol, a drug popular among bodybuilders. At the time, he maintained, ”I can honestly say I have no idea how a banned substance ended up in my system.”
                Mejia returned July 12, appeared in seven games for New York, then was banned for 162 games on July 28 after a positive test for Stanozolol and Boldenone. The third suspension was for a positive test for Boldenone Frans Nielsen Jersey Kids , an anabolic steroid generally used by veterinarians on horses.
                ”I’ve had a long, difficult time away from the game to contemplate the mistakes I’ve made both with regard to my positive drug tests and also the false allegations I made about Major League Baseball’s investigation into my testing history,” Mejia said in a statement issued through the players’ association. ”Baseball is my profession, my passion and my life, and for those mistakes I am truly sorry.”
                Mejia is 9-14 with a 3.68 ERA in 18 starts and 95 relief appearances. In addition to random drug tests, he will be subject annually to six additional urine tests and three additional blood tests.
                He has four years, 140 days of major league service and would be eligible for salary arbitration this winter and again after the 2019 season before becoming eligible for free agency.
                Even though Mejia is not being paid, he has a contract. The Mets cut his salary the maximum allowed, 30 percent over two years, from $2.47 million in 2016 to $1,976 Andre Burakovsky Jersey ,000 in 2017 to $1,729,000 this year. For 2019, he can be cut by 20 percent to $1,383,200, staying within the reduction limit of 30 percent over two years.
                ”I am aware that he can get reinstated at some point,” Mets manager Mickey Callaway said. ”I think right now we’re just focused on who we have here and kind of moving forward.”

                The Latest on the Washington Capitals‘ Stanley Cup parade (all times local):
                2:30 p.m.
                Barry Trotz says the Capitals are going to do it again, and T.J. Oshie led fans in a chant of ”back-to-back” at the rally celebrating the Stanley Cup champions.
                Captain Alex Ovechkin fired up fans who filled the National Mall down to the Washington Monument by reminding them that he said at the start of the year they weren’t going to be as bad as some thought. Then he and his teammates sang along to Queen’s ”We Are The Champions” to complete the rally.

                12:50 p.m.
                The Capitals’ Stanley Cup parade has ended with a rally upcoming.
                Tens of thousands of fans lined the route along Constitution Avenue, including hundreds on the steps of the national archives creating a sea of red.
                The final bus with Alex Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom Nick Foligno Jersey , Brooks Orpik, owner Ted Leonsis and team president Dick Patrick also featured the Stanley Cup.
                Fans along Constitution chanted, ”Raise the Cup!” and ”Ovi! Ovi! Ovi!”
                Ovechkin sat at the front of the double-decker bus, alternating between resting his arms on the trophy, raising it, and drinking out of his blue Bud Light bottle.

                11 a.m.
                The caravan is on the move for the start of the Washington Capitals’ first Stanley Cup parade.
                More than 40 vehicles – buses and convertibles carrying players and staff – began moving down 23rd Street toward Constitution Avenue led by 30-plus police officers on motorcycles. The parade officially begins at 17th and Constitution and ends at 7th and the National Mall.
                Conn Smythe Trophy winner Alex Ovechkin and owner Ted Leonsis have the Stanley Cup at the tail end of the parade.

                10 a.m.
                Capitals players, staff members and their families are on their way to the start of the parade route after taking a team photo at Capital One Arena. Fans lined the exit to the arena chanting and cheering as players boarded several buses to get to Constitution Avenue.
                A police escort cleared the way for the buses to get through D.C. traffic as throngs of people waited along the route and at the National Mall, where a rally will cap the celebration.

                6 a.m.
                The Stanley Cup-champion Capitals will celebrate the city’s first major four pro sports championship in 26 years with a parade down Constitution Avenue.
                It’s the first sports parade in Washington since the NFL’s Redskins in 1992. Alex Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom and his teammates will travel from 17th to 7th on Constitution to a rally on the National Mall by the afternoon.
                They’ll be joined by four F-16 Fighting Falcons from the D.C. Air National Guard who will perform a flyover about 25 minutes in. Season-ticket holders who have remained from the team’s eight-win inaugural season in 1974-75, high school marching bands and the D.C. fire department pipes and drums will be among those participating.

                More Stanley Cup coverage: New York Giants Jerseys


                • #9
                  With many NFL teams using a running back by committee approach Mark Stone Jersey , the “bell cow” back who carries the ball 20 times per game has become a hot commodity in fantasy football.
                  According to consensus draft rankings in point-per-reception (PPR) scoring formats, 10 of the first 15 players taken in typical drafts are running backs. If you want to field a competitive lineup this season, focus on RBs early.
                  Todd Gurley, Le’Veon Bell, Ezekiel Elliott and David Johnson are usually the first running backs selected in typical drafts.
                  Gurley flourished in Rams coach Sean McVay’s revamped offense last season, leading all RBs with 13 rushing TDs, and he posted 64 receptions. He’s the major cog in a top offense.
                  Bell has been a top 3 fantasy RB three of the past four seasons, but he’s expected to miss his second straight training camp due to a contract dispute with the Steelers. Missing camp last season may have contributed to his slow start. He’ll likely have another productive season, but buyer beware; Bell’s played the most snaps of any NFL RB since the 2013 season.
                  Elliott led all RBs in 2017 with 98.3 rushing yards per game and will be the centerpiece of a depleted Cowboys offense. He’ll also likely play a bigger role in the Cowboys pass offense this season.
                  Johnson missed most of the 2017 season due to a wrist injury, but he’ll be the focal point of the Arizona offense. He rushed for 1,239 yards, scored 20 total TDs and registered 80 receptions in 2016. He’ll run behind a fullback this season to minimize injury risk. Expect him to approach 2016 rushing and pass-catching stats.
                  Alvin Kamara caught 81 passes last season, but the Saints may need him to play more snaps than he’s accustomed to while Mark Ingram serves a four game drug suspension. He may not match last season’s combined 13 TDs, however he’ll play a big part in the Saints passing game.
                  Saquon Barkley is expected to have a big impact in his rookie season, both in the Giants run game and in their passing offense. He was going to have a big role anyway, but Barkley’s pass protection abilities will ensure he’ll be on the field for the majority of the Giants’ offensive snaps.
                  Kareem Hunt led NFL RBs with 1,327 rushing yards and added 53 receptions last season. He’ll be the Chiefs‘ primary back in 2018 and may see a slight uptick in receiving targets with inexperienced QB Patrick Mahomes potentially using him as a safety valve in pressure situations.
                  Melvin Gordon’s 3.8 career yards per carry (YPC) may not impress, however he had the third-most red zone carries among RBs last season and has scored 24 TDs in his last 29 games. TDs are hard to predict, but the Chargers consistently provide Gordon with a high volume of scoring opportunities. Gordon caught 58 balls out of the backfield in 2017 and his reception totals have increased in each of the past three seasons.
                  The Jaguars run-first offense will provide Leonard Fournette plenty of opportunities. He rushed for 1 David Krejci Jersey ,040 yards and scored 10 total TDs in his 2017 rookie campaign, but wore down as the season progressed. He’s had a history of foot related injuries dating back to his college days, and may not have prolific ball-catching skills, but if Fournette’s health holds up, he should post another 1,000-yard rushing season.
                  Dalvin Cook is recovering from a torn ACL, but should be ready for Week 1. Although Latavius Murray will have a role in the Vikings backfield, Cook will be their primary back. Barring setbacks, pencil him in for 1,000-plus rushing yards and about 40 catches.
                  Although he’ll still have fantasy value in standard (non-PPR) leagues, Christian McCaffrey’s 80 receptions from 2017 make him extra valuable in PPR. The Panthers have suggested he could get 25 to 30 touches per game. That sounds optimistic considering that C.J. Anderson is now in the mix, but if he approaches that workload, McCaffrey can possibly outplay his expectations of being a top 12 fantasy RB.
                  Falcons RB Devonta Freeman landed in the NFL’s concussion protocol twice last season. He also sprained both his MCL and PCL. When healthy he is one of the top RBs in all scoring formats.
                  Jerick McKinnon never had more than 159 carries in a season, but he’ll be the featured back in the 49ers offense. His outstanding pass-catching abilities make him valuable in PPR leagues, however his lack of experience as a bell cow back and smallish frame makes you wonder if he can withstand the rigors of a 16 game NFL season.
                  Bengals RB Joe Mixon has immense talent, however inconsistency, a bad offensive line and uneven usage contributed to his underwhelming rookie season. As the Bengals’ primary back, if his offensive line improves its level of play he could enjoy a breakout season.
                  Jordan Howard has an outstanding career 4.6 YPC, however he’s had problems catching the ball. The Bears insist he’ll be their featured back JK Scott Jersey , however Tarik Cohen’s abilities as a pass catcher could cut into Howard’s snaps.
                  LeSean McCoy’s offseason troubles and the anemic Bills offense make him risky. Jay Ajayi may break some runs this season but he’s an injury risk in a crowded Eagles backfield. Avoid the Seahawks backfield until there is more clarity regarding Rashaad Penny’s and Chris Carson’s playing time. Sony Michel is expected to miss the rest of the preseason due to a knee injury that could also affect his availability to start the regular season.
                  Royce Freeman is a very talented RB who may end up being Denver’s featured back. Keep an eye on De’Angelo Henderson as well. Raiders RB Marshawn Lynch is a mid-level RB2 who is being drafted as an RB3.
                  David Johnson, Arizona Cardinals
                  JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) Jalen Ramsey got his hands dirty Tuesday for the first time since the birth of his daughter.
                  Ramsey reported to Jacksonville Jaguars training camp and jumped right into the mix with the first-team defense, taking part in drills, talking trash and breaking up passes.
                  Sweat, grass, dirt. It might have been the messiest Ramsey’s hands have been since he skipped the start of camp to remain in Tennessee with his girlfriend, Bre, and newborn daughter, Breelyn. That’s because the All-Pro cornerback, whose hands might be as valuable as anyone’s on that side of the ball, made a deal with Bre that he wouldn’t have to change diapers.
                  ”We’ve been best friends since high school so we’ve always kind of talked about how the process would go a little bit,” Ramsey said. ”Of course, everything’s different when it actually happens, but for the most part, we have really good agreement that I won’t necessarily have to change diapers.”
                  So what is Ramsey’s part of the trade-off?
                  ”She changes the diapers; I feed her,” he said.
                  Ramsey became a first-time father last Wednesday, the day the Jaguars reported for camp. He missed four practices to spend extra time with his family. Coach Doug Marrone excused his absences.
                  ”It is good when everybody is together Authentic Marcus Mariota Jersey , everyone is back in and everyone is in a good place mentally,” Marrone said. ”Just having that balance in your life, making sure everyone is good at home, making sure everyone is OK, making sure everything is set. Then you can get here and then you can focus and put your mind on what you need to do. It is always good when you can get everyone back in here, and I am glad everything worked out well.”
                  Marrone had planned to work Ramsey in slowly, but the ultra-competitive, lock-down cornerback refused to stay on the sideline during his first day back. The Jaguars had to like what they saw, even though they’ve seen similar from him for two years now.
                  Ramsey played in every game in two seasons and emerged as one of the league’s top defenders.
                  He expects to be even better in Year 3.
                  ”We’re going to see when the season starts, right?” he said. ”We’re going to see. And y’all will see. Y’all will see. I never give myself like goals. I guess you could say like, `Oh, I’m going to have this many interceptions; I’m going to have this many” pass breakups.
                  ”But what I can tell you, though, that I will do is I’ll make sure I prepare myself and I’m ready to go out there and give it my all so I’m not letting anybody down, my teammates, coaches, my family, y’all, fans. I can tell you that much.”
                  He gets one of his toughest tests in the team’s season opener at the New York Giants and against three-time Pro Bowl receiver Odell Beckham Jr.
                  ”Let’s get this out the way right now: He’s a good receiver. We all know that Justin Abdelkader Jersey ,” said Ramsey, the fifth overall pick in the 2016 NFL draft. ”But y’all know me at the same time. Yeah, he’s good. But I’m good, too. If y’all want to say he’s the best at his position; I’m the best at my position, so we’re going to go at it. We’re going to give the people a show the first game of the season.
                  ”He’s going to have some wins; I’m going to have some wins. I just plan on having more wins.”
                  Ramsey is the outspoken face of Jacksonville’s vaunted defense, a unit that was among the best in the league in 2017. The Jaguars return 10 starters on that side of the ball, including all four in the secondary, and expect to be even more dynamic in their second season together.
                  ”At the end of the day, win games,” he said. ”If we can win games on the defensive side of the ball. We can always ask for more: More turnovers, more touchdowns, more opportunities giving the ball back to the offense. Just more of everything.”
                  Except diapers.
                  ”It feels good” to be back, Ramsey said. ”Miss my little girl already, but it feels good. It was cool. It was good. Long few days, but everything that I could have dreamed of.”



                  • #10

                    Third time was the charm for James Harden.
                    The Houston Rockets star was voted the NBA’s Most Valuable Player after twice being runner-up Womens Lamar Jackson Jersey , beating out four-time winner LeBron James and Anthony Davis of the Pelicans at the NBA Awards on Monday night.
                    Harden joined Michael Jordan as the only players to average at least 20 points, eight assists, five rebounds and 1.7 steals in a season.
                    He led the league in scoring, 3-pointers and 50-point games with four while helping the Rockets to an NBA-leading 65 wins.
                    ”The last four years have been like knocking on the door, knocking on the door. Now the moment is finally here,” Harden said backstage. ”Just every single year you try to come back and be better than you were the year before, and just to be holding that trophy finally, it means a lot.”
                    James didn’t attend the show in Barker Hangar at the Santa Monica Airport amid frenzied speculation about his future. He has until Friday to tell the Cavaliers if he will pick up his $35.6 million option for next season or opt for free agency.
                    Harden, who is from Los Angeles, led his mother on stage before he accepted the trophy from Commissioner Adam Silver.
                    ”I’m not going to get emotional,” he said from behind dark sunglasses. ”She’s my backbone in good times and bad times.”
                    Harden received a total of 965 points and 86 first-place votes. James finished second with 738 points and 15 first-place votes, while Davis was third with 445 points and no first-place votes.
                    Harden didn’t prepare a speech.
                    ”I felt like last year I should have won as well Quinton Dunbar Jersey , so I didn’t see a difference between last year and this year,” he said backstage. ”If I won it, then I was going to go off the top and try to show my appreciation to everybody helping me along the way.”
                    Harden’s teammate, Chris Paul, popped up among reporters backstage and asked Harden how many bottles of liquor Rockets CEO Tad Brown would have to buy at the next location.
                    ”Couple cases,” Harden said, grinning.
                    The Rockets had another winner in Daryl Morey, who was honored as Executive of the Year.
                    In other awards, Ben Simmons of the Philadelphia 76ers won Rookie of the Year.
                    The guard averaged 15 points, eight rebounds and eight assists, joining Hall of Famer Oscar Robertson as the only rookies to post those numbers in a season.
                    Simmons helped Philadelphia to a 52-30 record, including ending the season with a 16-game winning streak.
                    He beat out finalists Donovan Mitchell of Utah and Jayson Tatum of Boston.
                    Guard Victor Oladipo of the Indiana Pacers earned Most Improved Player.
                    He averaged 23.1 points in his first season with the Pacers while nabbing his first All-Star berth. He also led the league in steals for the first time.
                    The Defensive Player of the Year went to center Rudy Gobert of the Utah Jazz.
                    He was the leading vote-getter for the league’s All-Defensive first team while anchoring a Jazz defense that ranked second in the NBA in defensive rating.
                    Lou Williams of the Los Angeles Clippers took Sixth Man honors.
                    The guard became the first player to average at least 20 points for the first time in his 13th season or later. He led the league in fourth-quarter points and scoring average.
                    Williams kissed his two young daughters on his way to the stage after becoming the Clippers’ third winner in the last five years.
                    Dwane Casey was chosen Coach of the Year for his work with the Toronto Raptors , who fired him last month. He has since become coach of the Detroit Pistons.
                    ”Can’t look in the rear view mirror,” Casey said backstage. ”Winston Churchill said success is measured by failure, failure, and then come back with enthusiasm, and that’s what I’ve done.”
                    Casey led the Raptors to the No. 1 seed in the East for the first time in franchise history after winning a team-record 59 games. Casey coached the East in the All-Star Game for the first time.
                    Casey won over Quin Snyder of Utah and Brad Stevens of Boston.
                    Robertson received the Lifetime Achievement Award from presenters Charles Barkley and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.
                    After Barkley mentioned last year’s recipient Bill Russell, Boston’s Hall of Fame center flipped his middle finger in Barkley’s direction.
                    Robertson is the career leader in triple-doubles and was the first player to average one for a season. His antitrust case against the NBA also ushered in free agency for players, which Robertson said was his most important assist.
                    Backstage, Robertson commended the activism of today’s players, although he wondered why more white athletes aren’t speaking out.
                    ”The only thing that really bothers me is where are the white athletes when this is happening?” he said. ”This is not a black athlete problem. You see injustice in the world. It’s all around.”
                    Robertson went on to say he hopes ”the whites and the blacks get together, even with the football,” a reference to NFL players who have taken a knee or sat in silence during the national anthem to protest police brutality and racial inequality.
                    Former NBA player Dikembe Mutombo received the Sager Strong Award, named for the late Turner Sports broadcaster. He donned a garish sports coat similar to what Craig Sager always wore.
                    The Hustle Award went to Amir Johnson of the 76ers.

                    BUFFALO http://www.dallascowboysteamonline.c...rescott-jersey , N.Y. — Forgettable campaigns for both the Buffalo Sabres and Ottawa Senators are nearing an end. Before they conclude, the two teams will meet in Buffalo’s home finale on Wednesday night.
                    The Sabres (25-42-12) have lost eight of their last 11 games as they prepare to finish their first season under head coach Phil Housley. Buffalo is coming off a 5-2 loss to the rival Toronto Maple Leafs on Monday and also had a 6-3 loss to the Detroit Red Wings last Thursday.
                    The Sabres have had a few positive moments sprinkled in between their struggles, particularly in the second half of the season — which included a stunning surprise 7-4 win over the Nashville Predators on Saturday.
                    In that game, top playmaker Jack Eichel had a career-best five assists in the victory, tying a franchise record. Eichel became the fourth Buffalo player to record five assists in a single game.
                    The loss to the Maple Leafs, however, was a stark reminder of just how far the Sabres have to go in order to turn things around in the future.
                    “That’s a good team over there, they brought it,” goalie Chad Johnson said after the loss, according to the team’s website. “Their skilled players or their best players were their best players. At the end of the day you wish you could personally, as a team, beat all these top teams all the time and have great numbers Andrew Luck Jersey , great statistics. It’s tough beating these guys when they’re at their best. There’s a reason why they have as many points as they do. We’re still finding that consistency in our game.”
                    Eichel leads the Sabres in scoring with 62 points (25 goals, 37 assists) in 64 games. Ryan O’Reilly is second on the team with 58 points (22 goals, 36 assists) in 58 games. Young forward Sam Reinhart has turned the corner in the second half of the season, posting 48 points (24 goals, 24 assists) in 79 games.
                    One highlight for Sabres fans will be a Dominik Hasek bobblehead giveaway as part of the team’s fan appreciation night. Every fan who attends the game will receive one bobblehead.
                    The Senators (27-41-11) are also limping to the finish line in what has been a remarkably frustrating and surprising season. Ottawa has lost eight of its last night games, with the lone win coming in overtime against the Florida Panthers last Thursday. Ottawa’s most recent defeat came in a 6-5 loss to the Winnipeg Jets on Monday.
                    “We showed some character coming back,” Senators coach Guy Boucher said, according to the team’s website. “But we made too many mistakes defensively to allow us to win.”
                    With his future unclear, Senators captain Erik Karlsson did not make the trip with the team to Buffalo. It remains to be seen if Karlsson has played his last game for the Senators. Karlsson picked up the final puck in the loss to Winnipeg before leaving the ice.
                    Karlsson is under contract through one more season but has been surrounded by trade rumors all season long.
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                    • #11

                      Fletcher Cox is playing in the first Super Bowl he’s seeing.
                      Or so he says.
                      The three-time Pro Bowl defensive tackle is a big reason why the Philadelphia Eagles are facing the New England Patriots next Sunday in Minneapolis for a chance to bring home the franchise’s first Vince Lombardi Trophy.
                      But the 27-year-old Cox isn’t much of a football fan. He insists he’s never even watched a Super Bowl.
                      ”I don’t watch sports Youth Greg Olsen Jersey ,” Cox said. ”You know that.”
                      If he spends the night getting in Tom Brady’s face and helps the Eagles win their first NFL title since 1960, Cox may want to watch the highlights sometime.
                      First, all that matters is winning.
                      ”We haven’t been talked about all year,” Cox said. ”That’s our story. No one has been talking about the Eagles, the defense, or the offense. If you go back and look, we finished in the top five of a bunch of different categories. This team just keeps finding ways to win, and that’s our motto.”
                      Cox, the 12th overall pick in the 2012 draft, had 5+ sacks in 14 games, recovered two fumbles and returned one for a touchdown. He often faces two or three blockers, so that allows his teammates opportunities to make plays.
                      ”Cox is as good as anybody in the league at his position,” Patriots coach Bill Belichick said. ”He’s a very disruptive player, hard to block Authentic Ryan Kerrigan Jersey , run, pass, no matter what it is.”
                      Earning praise from Belichick doesn’t come easy. Cox appreciates it.
                      ”It’s a lot of respect from a coach like Belichick, a guy that’s been around, a guy that’s seen a lot of great players in this league,” he said. ”For him to say that that means I obviously must be doing something right. But at the same time, I’ve got three other guys besides me that’s helping me push that limit, that’s helping me get that recognition and I want to do the same thing for those guys.”
                      The Eagles have plenty of depth on their defensive line. Ends Brandon Graham and Vinny Curry and tackle Tim Jernigan start along with Cox. Chris Long, Derek Barnett and Beau Allen also played at least 40 percent of the snaps.
                      ”I wish it was just four (linemen),” Belichick said. ”It’s a very disruptive group. They have some edge rushers, a good interior pass rush. They come hard every play. You have to block them on every play. There are no plays off. To deal with that front down after down, they wear you down. It’s a great group and a huge strength for their defense.”
                      Defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz has enough confidence in all the players to rotate them in and out for series at a time. Because they split reps, they still look fresh this late in the season. It showed in a pair of dominant performances against the Falcons and Vikings in the playoffs.
                      ”To roll in that many guys and not see a drop-off, it’s great Youth Antonio Brown Jersey ,” Cox said. ”We’re pushing those guys to be on the same level as us.”
                      Cox knows harassing Brady is the key to success against the Patriots. The Giants sacked Brady five times in their stunning Super Bowl upset 10 years ago, spoiling New England’s perfect season.
                      Led by Cox and Graham, the Eagles generate a strong rush without having to blitz much. They’ll need to keep extra defenders in the secondary against Brady.
                      ”It’s going to come down to the front four guys getting after the quarterback, making him uncomfortable in the pocket,” Cox said.
                      Easier said than done against Brady.

                      AP NFL website:
                      COLUMBUS, Ohio — The stakes will be high and Nationwide Arena is certain to be rocking when the Pittsburgh Penguins visit Nationwide Arena on Thursday night to face the Columbus Blue Jackets in the next-to-last game of the regular season.
                      The Metropolitan Division rivals are tied for second place in the standings with 96 points each. The winner will take a big step toward gaining home-ice advantage in the first round of the playoffs.
                      That’s a huge deal, especially for the Penguins (45-29-6) based on their record. They are 29-9-2 at home this season, the second-best mark in the NHL behind the Winnipeg Jets, and 16-20-4 on the road, the second-worst record behind the Colorado Avalanche among the teams still in playoff contention.
                      “You look at our track record throughout this year and years past, we’ve been good on home ice and that’s where we’re comfortable,” Pittsburgh defenseman Brian Dumoulin said. “Obviously, if we have win on the road we’ve shown we can do that, but home-ice is important. This upcoming game with Columbus is important for that.”
                      The Penguins already clinched a playoff spot Jamaal Williams Jersey , but the Blue Jackets (45-29-6) still are not officially in yet. Beating Pittsburgh for the first time this season (Columbus has lost all three games in the series, including two in shootouts) would remove all doubt.
                      The New Jersey Devils trail the Blue Jackets and Penguins by one point, the Philadelphia Flyers are two back and the Florida Panthers remain in the hunt, four points behind the Flyers for the second wild-card spot.
                      If the Penguins and Blue Jackets happen to finish with the same record after 82 games, Pittsburgh would win the tiebreaker.
                      “I think the biggest thing, you get a win and you’ve got one game left and you get home ice,” Columbus forward Matt Calvert said. “That’s something that we’re really focused on. That’s something we lost last year.”
                      The Penguins and Blue Jackets met in a first-round series last season that lasted just five games, with Pittsburgh winning three times at home.
                      Both teams expect a playoff-like environment in Thursday’s showdown.
                      “It’s an important game to both teams,” Penguins coach Mike Sullivan said. “They’re fighting for every bit as much as we’re fighting for. Any time you play divisional rivals it’s a heightened emotion. They tend to be exciting games to be a part of. It’s as close to a playoff atmosphere as you’re going to get because the stakes are so high for both teams.”
                      The Blue Jackets feel like they’re ready for the Penguins after rallying from a three-goal deficit for a 5-4 overtime victory over the Detroit Red Wings on Tuesday night. Columbus is 13-1-1 in its last 15 games and appears to be peaking at the right time.
                      Blue Jackets coach John Tortorella just wants his team to have fun and enjoy the moment.
                      “It’s Pittsburgh. Eventually, if you have an opportunity to get in (the playoffs), as we’re still trying to fight, you’re going to have to go through there,” he said. “They’re that good. Two-time Stanley Cup winner. They’re a really good team.
                      “Let’s play. I’m just excited for the guys that they have an opportunity to play another game that means something. When it’s Pittsburgh, there’s a little more there.”
                      Asked whether the Blue Jackets have earned the Penguins’ respect with their play Jesper Bratt Jersey Kids , Columbus center Mark Letestu said, “I don’t care what they think. We regard ourselves in that way. We’ve always thought we belonged. The outside noise really doesn’t concern us.
                      “We feel like we’re in a good situation. It’s in our hands. We’re on home ice, against a rival. I’m excited about it. We’re going to be ready to play.”
                      Both teams will have plenty of skill on the ice. Pittsburgh’s Evgeni Malkin (96), Phil Kessel (87) and Sidney Crosby (86) all rank in the top 10 in the league in points. Columbus’ Artemi Panarin set a franchise record on Tuesday with 80 points.
                      Also playing a prominent role for the Blue Jackets will be defensemen Seth Jones, Zach Werenski and Ian Cole, who will face his former Penguins teammates for the first time since he was acquired at the trade deadline in February.
                      “I would say it’ll be a playoff atmosphere,” Crosby said. “I think the two teams have played some pretty intense games over the years. With the importance of the game, the fact that we’ve been pretty closely matched all year, I think it’ll be very similar to the Washington game the other night.”
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                      • #12
                        One of the most controversial plays from Week Two of the preseason happened in Minnesota http://www.washingtonredskinsteamonl...aringer-jersey , where Jaguars cornerback A.J. Bouye drew a penalty for lowering his helmet and initiating contact with Vikings fullback C.J. Ham.
                        Bouye indeed lowered his helmet, and his helmet made contact with Ham. In the league’s weekly officiating video, however, senior V.P. of officiating Al Riveron explains that it wasn’t a foul on Bouye because Bouye was actually bracing for contact.
                        Making the explanation even more intriguing, and potentially instructive: Riveron said that Ham, whose helmet also was lowered, was also bracing for contact. Ham didn’t actually make contact with his helmet Rigoberto Sanchez Jersey , so it wasn’t a foul on him, anyway. (The officials flagged only Bouye.) But this notion of “bracing” for contact could be another way to limit and narrow the focus of a new rule ostensibly aimed at limiting the instances in which the helmet is used as a weapon.
                        This interpretation didn’t require a non-change change to the rule, unlike the non-addition addition of the exception for “inadvertent or incidental contact” to the 21-word rule that previously contained no such exception. The rule, as originally written, requires a player to be initiating contact, and Riveron’s explanation of the Ham-Bouye hit seems to represent an indication that, as two players approach each other on the field Authentic Todd Gurley Jersey , the league will regard both of them as bracing, not initiating.
                        It’s a subtle yet dramatic shift in the interpretation of the rule. Riveron explained during a visit to the #PFTPM podcast before Wednesday’s conference call aimed at refining the rule that, in theory, two players approaching each other could be called simultaneously for violating the rule. While that’s still possible, this sudden notion of mutual bracing for contact dramatically limits the instances where two players would be essentially targeting each other with head lowered and a forceful lunge aimed at delivering a punishing blow to an opponent.
                        This is actually very good news for those who believed that the new rule would go far beyond its intended scope. And it’s very bad news for whoever may have tried to dramatically reduce the involvement of the helmet in the game by adroitly slipping through the cracks an excessively broad rule that was poised to revolutionize the game, and not in a good way.
                        Now that quarterback Josh Allen is under contract, the big question remaining is how long it will be before the Buffalo Bills' rookie first-round draft pick takes over the starting job.
                        The Bills signed Allen to a four-year contract on Wednesday Eric Staal Jersey , a day before they open training camp in the Rochester suburbs.
                        Allen is the heir-apparent starter after Buffalo traded up five spots to select the Wyoming player with the seventh pick in the draft. He was the third quarterback taken in April, and the first ever selected by Buffalo among the top 10 picks in the draft order.
                        The 22-year-old still has plenty of work ahead to establish himself, and coach Sean McDermott said in June that he has no intention of rushing the quarterback's development.
                        "It's about bringing him along the right way," McDermott said. "We're not going to put him out there unless we feel like he's ready."
                        Allen spent all but the final week of the Bills spring minicamps serving as the third-string quarterback, while free-agent addition AJ McCarron and returning backup Nathan Peterman split time with the starters.
                        At 6-foot-5 and 250 pounds, Allen is a raw but strong-armed and athletic quarterback. He was a two-year starter at Wyoming, where he completed 365 of 649 passes for 5 Youth Justin Tucker Jersey ,066 yards with 44 touchdowns and 21 interceptions.
                        The Bills are again shuffling starters after Tyrod Taylor was traded to Cleveland in March despite helping Buffalo to a 9-7 finish and ending a 17-year playoff drought.
                        Running back LeSean McCoy was among the players to report Wednesday for the start of camp, team spokesman Derek Boyko told The Associated Press.
                        McCoy's status was unclear after he was accused of playing a role in his ex-girlfriend being bloodied during a home invasion two weeks ago at a house the running back owns in the Atlanta suburbs.
                        McCoy denied any involvement in the home invasion and other allegations posted on social media by a woman who appeared to be a friend of his ex-girlfriend.
                        The Bills issued a statement saying they were gathering information and had been in contact with McCoy and the NFL. The league said it was reviewing the matter.
                        The Bills placed receiver Zay Jones on the active/non-football injury list. The second-year player had knee surgery in May, which forced him to miss all of the team's spring sessions.
                        Jones is allowed to work out individually, but is not allowed to practice with the team until the Bills remove him from the list.
                        Buffalo's second-round draft pick in 2017, Jones also had surgery in January for a shoulder injury, which had nagged him for most of his rookie season.
                        The Bills also released defensive tackle Tenny Palepoi. He signed with Buffalo in April after spending three seasons with the Chargers.
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                        • #13

                          Jose Peraza’s best game at the plate turned out to be Mike Matheny’s last in the Cardinals‘ dugout.
                          Peraza had a career-best five hits Jonathan Huberdeau Jersey , Scooter Gennett drove in two runs and the Reds waited out a pair of rain delays before beating St. Louis 8-2 on Saturday night.
                          The Cardinals fired Matheny, who was in his seventh year as manager, after the game.
                          Peraza is hitting 14 for 33 (.424) on the Reds’ eight-game road trip.
                          ”I felt good,” Peraza said. ”I just swung the bat and something happened.”
                          Following the two delays that totaled 2 hours, 43 minutes, Cincinnati trailed 2-0 after five innings before rallying for eight runs in its final four at-bats.
                          ”This one just got away,” Matheny said. ”You’ve got a team that’s swinging the bats very well over there and not letting you get away with many mistakes.”
                          Gennett hit a 100 mph fastball off Jordan Hicks (3-2) to right field for a single to drive in Billy Hamilton with the bases loaded in the seventh inning to put the Reds ahead 3-2.
                          Peraza’s 5-for-6 performance came after he had registered four hits on four previous occasions , most recently on April 27 at Minnesota. He tied the game at 2 in the seventh when he singled on a chopper up the middle that bounced off Hicks’ pitching hand to drive in Dilson Herrera.
                          Cincinnati has won three straight against St. Louis after having dropped 13 in a row to the Cardinals. The Reds are 21-9 since June 10.
                          ”It kind of goes back to when we won two out of there against Atlanta on the road,” Cincinnati manager Jim Riggleman said. ”We’ve played some good series against first-place clubs, playoff teams.”
                          Hicks allowed four runs on four hits, a walk, and one hit batter while recording just one out in the seventh inning.
                          ”That game’s definitely on me,” Hicks said. ”I’m supposed to come in and be lock down and that wasn’t the case today.”
                          Austin Brice (2-2) retired both batters he faced in the sixth after replacing Kyle Crockett, who opened the inning.
                          Gennett hit a double to left field off Mike Mayers in the sixth inning to score Joey Votto. He has 44 RBIs in 83 career games against St. Louis.
                          Jack Flaherty allowed two hits in five scoreless innings. He returned following a 52-minute rain delay after the first inning Bryan Bulaga Jersey , but was removed from the game after play was halted for 1 hour, 51 minutes after the fifth.
                          Luis Castillo allowed two runs on five hits in five innings.
                          Matt Carpenter hit his 18th home run of the season in the first inning. It was his 19th career leadoff home run and fourth in 2018. He has 36 extra-base hits since May 15.
                          IRON MAN:
                          Yadier Molina started his 1,801st game at catcher to move past Tony Pena into eighth place in combined regular season and postseason starts behind the plate.
                          TRAINER’S ROOM:
                          Reds: RF Scott Schebler departed in the sixth inning after running into the right-field wall after catching Molina’s fly. ”I think he’s going to be all right,” Riggleman said. ”It was pretty sore but we’ll probably stay away from playing him tomorrow.”
                          Cardinals: OF Tyler O’Neill began a 20-day injury rehabilitation assignment with Triple-A Memphis, where he went hitless in three at-bats Saturday with a strikeout at Omaha. O’Neill has been sidelined since July 5 with a left hamstring strain.
                          UP NEXT:
                          RHP Anthony DeSclafani (4-1, 4.43) will face RHP Miles Mikolas (10-3, 2.65). DeSclafani has won his last four decisions and is 5-1 with a 2.30 ERA in eight career outings against the Cardinals. Mikolas will represent the Cardinals at the All-Star Game at Nationals Park on Tuesday but will not pitch.

                          Free agent running back Adrian Peterson is in shape Womens Brayden Point Jersey , and he wants NFL teams to know it.
                          Peterson has been posting videos of himself doing grueling cardio workouts on the treadmill, jumping onto boxes with a barbell on his back, and so on. Peterson said this week on ESPN that he’s hoping teams will notice those workouts and give him a call.
                          There’s no question that Peterson is in the kind of shape most people could never fathom, and he says the neck injury that ended his 2017 season is totally healed. But whether any team thinks he can still contribute remains to be seen.
                          Peterson had a strange 2017 season. He signed with the Saints but was largely unused, and with good reason: He wasn’t nearly as effective as the Saints’ other running backs, Mark Ingram and Alvin Kamara. But when Peterson was traded to the Cardinals, he had a couple of huge games Nathan MacKinnon Jersey , gaining 134 yards on 26 carries in one win and 159 yards on 37 carries in another win. Of course, Peterson also had some terrible games, being held under 2.0 yards a carry on three separate occasions.
                          Now 33 years old, Peterson doesn’t have much time left in him. But he wants teams to know that he’s ready to go.
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                          • #14

                            Tavon Austin is restructuring his contract to remain with the Los Angeles Rams.
                            The Rams worked out a deal with Austin on Thursday to keep the high-priced veteran receiver on their roster.
                            Austin got a four-year Authentic Carl Gunnarsson Jersey , $42 million deal with Los Angeles before the 2016 season, and he reached career highs with 58 catches for 509 yards. But after Austin caught just 13 passes for the Rams last season, the team explored a trade or a buyout.
                            Coach Sean McVay frequently used the speedy former No. 8 overall pick as a ball-carrier instead of a receiver for the NFC West champions. Austin rushed 59 times for 270 yards last season.
                            Austin has spent five seasons with the Rams.
                            LeBron James may go from idolized to immortalized in his hometown.
                            A GoFundMe account has been established with a goal to raise $1 million to sculpt and erect a life-size statue of James in Akron, where he began his basketball career before becoming a superstar with the Cleveland Cavaliers.
                            Aaron Carey, who like James played at Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary High School Aaron Ekblad Jersey , began the campaign to raise money to honor the three-time NBA champion.
                            ”We want to do this with the fans,” Carey told the Akron Beacon-Journal . ”We want fans to be able to thank LeBron for what he has done for Akron and the Cavs.”
                            Carey told the newspaper he has been in contact with artist Omri Amrany, who has created statues for basketball greats Michael Jordan, Shaquille O’Neal, Magic Johnson and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.
                            James was touched by the gesture.
                            ”First of all http://www.indianapoliscoltsteamonli...-hooker-jersey , thank you,” he said Monday when informed of the movement. ”It would be cool, not only for myself, but for my family and all the people that had anything to do with this journey thus far. I’m appreciative even of the thought.”
                            The 33-year-old is trying to advance to the Finals for the eighth straight time. To do that, the Cavaliers must eliminate the Boston Celtics La'el Collins Jersey , who have a 2-1 lead in the best-of-seven series entering Monday’s Game 4.
                            An initial rendering of a possible statue by Amrany shows James soaring toward the basket, with his right arm cocked back to deliver a dunk while wearing his signature Nikes and his No. 23 high school jersey.
                            Carey said a site for the statue has not been finalized.
                            ”We really want this to be in Akron,” he said. ”We talked to (Cavs owner) Dan Gilbert and he wants to put one up in Akron after LeBron retires.”
                            James laughed when asked if he had a preference on how the statue would depict him.
                            ”I don’t have a particular pose in mind,” he said. ”I think it’s the thought that counts, it’s pretty cool.”
                            Carey said a marketing campaign is underway to attract donors with deep pockets. The first 15 donors to contribute $30 Womens Deryk Engelland Jersey ,000 or more would receive a limited edition miniature replica of the statue, signed by the artist.

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                            • #15
                              After years of simply trying to reduce the number of kickoffs Mika Zibanejad Jersey , changes finally are being made to the kickoff play in an effort to make it safer. So how safe does the “most dangerous play in the game” have to become before the NFL will choose permanently to keep it?
                              In a new online question-and-answer session with fans, Packers CEO Mark Murphy offers a summary regarding the current status of the kickoff.
                              “As we鈥檝e discussed here before, the kickoff is by far the most dangerous play in the game,” Murphy writes. “You are five times more likely to suffer a concussion on a kickoff than a play from scrimmage. The kickoff is so dangerous because the collisions are often at full speed. I was part of the meeting this week in New York. The discussions were very productive. The special teams coaches came forward with a number of recommendations that should make the play safer. The recommendations included eliminating the two-man wedge, eliminating the running start for the kickoff coverage team, and requiring eight players on the return team to be within 15 yards of their restraining line. The changes should make the play more like the punt, where blockers are running alongside the players on the coverage unit. We鈥檙e very hopeful that these changes will result in fewer injuries on a kickoff, but we will continue to monitor this closely. We鈥檙e hopeful that these change will allow us to keep the kickoff in the game.”
                              Murphy, who previously has made it clear that the kickoff play remains on a “short leash” and that it could still go away, doesn’t elaborate on how safe the kickoff must become in order to save it. But if the concussion rate during kickoffs remains five times greater than in normal scrimmage plays, there’s surely an ideal ratio that the NFL hopes to achieve.
                              Is it 1:1? Or is 2:1 good enough? No one has provided that information Womens Jared McCann Jersey , yet.
                              That said, there’s a good chance that this is less about reducing concussions and more about removing from the game a play that carries with it the greatest risk of a catastrophic — and possibly fatal — injury.
                              Nearly nine years ago, then-Bengals quarterback Carson Palmer created a stir with a matter-of-fact assessment of the risk of playing NFL football:聽 鈥淭he truth of the matter is . . . somebody is going to die here in the NFL. It鈥檚 going to happen.鈥?The “most dangerous play in the game” presents the greatest risk of that, since players who are moving in opposite directions at full speed and who dip their helmets at impact risk the kind of upper spinal cord injury that will induce paralysis and, even worse, end life.
                              Think of the consequences to the NFL if a player pays the ultimate price. Congress instantly would convene hearings and commence drafting legislation. Debates would emerge about the morality of watching football (those debates already have popped up from time to time regarding chronic the health risks of the game). Eventually, a federal commission with the power to oversee and regulate football could emerge, which likely is the we-know-what’s-best-for-us NFL’s worst-case business scenario.
                              So even if avoiding a fatality isn’t the impetus for the ongoing examination of the kickoff, it should be. And it’s no surprise that the NFL won’t say “we don’t want someone to die on the field” when addressing its concerns about the play. The fact that people in the league routinely call it “the most dangerous play in the game” has to give the league’s lawyers nearly as many chest pains as an FBI raid on their offices, apartments, and/or hotel rooms. If people like Murphy were to admit that the league fears a fatality — and if a fatality were to happen — it could be game over Oliver Ekman-Larsson Jersey , literally.
                              Jon Lester and the Chicago Cubs are on top of the National League at the All-Star break.
                              Lester won for the eighth time in nine starts, Jason Heyward drove in two runs and the Cubs beat the sloppy San Diego Padres 7-4 on Sunday for a three-game series sweep.
                              Chicago closed out a 4-2 West Coast trip. With All-Star second baseman Javier Baez putting together a big first half, the Cubs (55-38) lead the Milwaukee Brewers by 2 1/2 games in the NL Central.
                              ”I feel like we’ve been playing really good baseball for a while and the Brewers have kind of matched us,” Lester said. ”We’re able to kind of gain some ground this weekend on our end. I think the biggest thing is just keeping your head down and keep plodding ahead. You can’t worry about other teams and what they’re doing right now.”
                              The Cubs won the World Series in 2016, stopping their 108-year title drought. They made it back to the NLCS last year before losing to the Los Angeles Dodgers, so they know how to approach the second half.
                              ”We’ve got still a month and a half of baseball to kind of battle our way through and then obviously September is kind of the game-changer,” Lester said. ”We get through this next month and a half and get into September and put ourselves in a good potion, I feel pretty confident about it.”
                              The Cubs jumped to a 5-0 lead after two innings against rookie left-hander Eric Lauer, who came within one out of his first complete game in a 4-1 victory over the Dodgers in his previous start.
                              It was more than enough for Lester (12-2), who struck out seven in 5 1/3 innings. The All-Star lefty allowed three runs and six hits while improving to 10-1 in his last 12 starts.
                              Lester was selected for Tuesday’s showcase in Washington by the players’ vote, but he won’t be on the active roster due to Sunday’s outing.
                              The 34-year-old Lester carried a 7-1 lead into the sixth inning before getting into a jam. He hit Freddy Galvis with the bases loaded John Tavares Jersey , forcing in a run. James Norwood then came in and got Austin Hedges to pop out before walking pinch-hitter Carlos Asuaje, bringing home another run. Manuel Margot then flied out to right, ending the inning.
                              ”There was a time that I thought he might go through seven but all of a sudden things began to unravel in the sixth and I had to get to it pretty quickly,” manager Joe Maddon said. ”But overall Jon had a nice day.”
                              Lester said he’s been fortunate in the first half.
                              ”I’ve been on the good side of the baseball gods in the first half. I will definitely take that,” he said. ”I feel there’s been some games I’ve thrown the ball really well and some games where I haven’t and I still kind of had some good fortune along the way.”
                              Pedro Strop surrendered Hunter Renfroe’s seventh homer in the seventh, but Justin Wilson got three outs before Brandon Morrow pitched the ninth for his 22nd save.
                              Christian Villanueva also homered for San Diego, hitting his 19th of the season in the fourth. Villanueva had two hits and scored twice.
                              Lauer, meanwhile, was in trouble early and often. He faced seven batters and threw 37 pitches in the first inning, when Baez and Addison Russell hit RBI singles and Ben Zobrist drove in a run on a groundout. Heyward hit a two-run single in the second.
                              That was it for Lauer (5-6), who allowed five hits Filip Forsberg Jersey , struck out three and walked one.
                              The Cubs added an unearned run in the fourth, when the Padres committed three errors.
                              ”There were some ugly moments. Some very ugly moments in the game today, and tough to stomach from a manager’s perspective,” San Diego’s Andy Green said. ”Stuff we can’t do. Some fight at the end, yes.”
                              Kris Bryant brought in a run in the sixth when he was hit by a pitch by Adam Cimber with the bases loaded.
                              The Padres have the worst record in the NL at 40-59.
                              ”Frustrating,” Green said. ”Not where I thought we’d be. Not where I want to be. I take ownership of that. It’s my team. It’s our team. We expect to play better than we’ve played. I think everyone in the clubhouse expects to play better from a win-loss perspective.”
                              MAKING MOVES
                              The Cubs placed outfielder Albert Almora Jr. on the family medical emergency list and recalled infielder David Bote from Triple-A Iowa. Bote started at third base and went 1 for 2 with a walk.
                              UP NEXT
                              Cubs: Kyle Hendricks (6-8, 3.92 ERA), who beat the Padres on Saturday night, is scheduled to start Thursday night as the Cubs open the second half against the St. Louis Cardinals.
                              Padres: LHP Clayton Richard (7-8, 4.43 ERA) is scheduled to start Friday night at Philadelphia.
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