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Thema: Then after two more
liny195

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Then after two more 19.09.2018 10:08 Forum: Werbung


New Orleans Saints general manager Mickey Loomis says the Saints plan to have an empty chair in the draft room at team headquarters in honor of their late owner.

Tom Benson Christian Okoye Jersey , a New Orleans native who bought the Saints in 1985, died on March 15 at age 90.

His wife, Gayle, now controls both the Saints and the NBA's New Orleans Pelicans, which Benson bought in 2012.

Loomis says Benson would have been excited about his sports businesses. Benson's horse, Lone Sailor, is slated to run in the Kentucky Derby and the Pelicans are in the second round of the playoffs after sweeping Portland in the first round.

Loomis says the Saints miss Benson and will be thinking about him on draft night.

OAKLAND Aldrick Rosas Jersey , Calif. — The Golden State Warriors can achieve a piece of history Tuesday when they look to close out the New Orleans Pelicans in Game 5 of the Western Conference semifinals.

The Warriors bounced back from a 119-100 thumping at New Orleans in Game 3 with an equally convincing 118-92 romp in Game 4, taking a commanding 3-1 lead in the best-of-seven series.

Golden State can advance to its fourth straight Western Conference finals with a Game 5 win at home, where it has won 14 consecutive playoff games, one shy of the NBA record.

The Chicago Bulls set the standard of 15 straight home wins from April 1990 to May 1991.

Warriors coach Steve Kerr went with a new starting lineup in Game 4, inserting Andre Iguodala alongside All-Stars Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Kevin Durant and Draymond Green for the first time in Durant’s two seasons with Golden State.

The result was a 17-4 game-opening burst that created a lead the Warriors never came close to relinquishing.

“You’re on the road and threatened Jimmy Smith Jersey , you put your five best guys out there,” Kerr explained. “To start like that sets a great tone.”

The Warriors dominated the game both offensively and defensively, the latter having been a key to their run to two championships in the last three seasons.

Golden State has won its last nine playoff games — four this season, five last year — when holding the opponent below 100 points, a streak that dates to Game 7 of the 2016 NBA Finals when Cleveland prevailed 93-89 to claim the title.

The Warriors, who have held the home-court advantage in every playoff series in which they’ve participated since Kerr took over as coach for the 2014-15 season, have won Game 5 (always at home) eight of the last nine times a series has reached a fifth game.

Again Tyreek Hill Jersey , the only loss was in the 2016 Finals when the Cavaliers rallied from a 3-1 deficit to stun the defending champs.

The Pelicans, meanwhile, have a bit of positive history to call upon in their quest to stay alive and perhaps advance past the second round for the first time ever.

Known then at the Hornets and down 3-1 in the best-of-seven, New Orleans won 93-91 at Philadelphia in the Eastern semifinals in 2002 — the first year of the New Orleans franchise — to force a Game 6, which they lost at home to the 76ers 107-103.

With their bench having been outscored 134-95 in the four games, the Pelicans have burned their starters big minutes, with Anthony Davis (39.3) and Jrue Holiday (38.2) leading the series in minutes played.

New Orleans coach Alvin Gentry had that in mind when he called off a scheduled workout on Monday in Oakland.

“We do have guys that are playing heavy minutes Jimmy Graham Jersey ,” he explained. “Really, all the starters are playing real heavy minutes. I thought it would be a good idea today to let their minds rest, their bodies rest.”

The Pelicans have played their best in the series when rested.

The clubs got two days off in Oakland after Golden State’s 123-101 victory in Game 1. The Pelicans rebounded with a strong effort in Game 2, falling just 121-116 on the road.

Then after two more days off, New Orleans was re-energized at home and responded with its 119-100 triumph.

The teams were then rushed back from a Friday night to a Sunday afternoon for Game 4, during which the Pelicans shot just 4 of 26 on 3-pointers after having scorched the nets for 14 of 31 in the Game 3 win.

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Thema: re has been in the league office
liny195

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re has been in the league office 19.09.2018 09:52 Forum: Werbung


The Latest on a suspected drunken-driving crash that killed Indianapolis Colts linebacker Edwin Jackson and another man (all times local):

5 p.m.

A man being held in a suspected drunken-driving crash that killed Indianapolis Colts linebacker Edwin Jackson and his Uber driver had a blood-alcohol level nearly three times Indiana’s legal limit immediately after Sunday’s deadly crash.

A probable cause affidavit filed Sunday in Marion Superior Court under the first name Manuel Orrego-Savala gave police states that a breath test administered at the scene found the 37-year-old man’s blood-alcohol content was 0.239 percent. Indiana’s legal limit is 0.08 percent.

Two vials of blood were later drawn from Orrego-Savala for testing. He remains jailed and prosecutors are weighing potential criminal charges against him in the crash that killed the 26-year-old Jackson and Jeffrey Monroe of Avon Xavien Howard Jersey , Indiana.

State Police say Orrego-Savala is a citizen of Guatemala who’s been deported twice from the U.S.



2:25 p.m.

An Indiana congressman says ”all Americans” should be angry that a suspected drunken-driving crash which killed Indianapolis Colts linebacker Edwin Jackson was allegedly caused by a man police say has been twice deported from the U.S.

Republican Rep. Todd Rokita tweeted Monday about Sunday’s crash that killed the 26-year-old Jackson and his Uber driver, Jeffrey Monroe of Avon, Indiana Derrick Shelby Jersey , saying ”this news should make all Americans angry.”

Monroe was transporting Jackson for the ride-hailing company when police say he stopped along Interstate 70 after Jackson became ill.

Both men were standing outside Monroe’s car when police say a pickup truck driven by 37-year-old Manuel Orrego-Savala struck and killed them.

Police say he’s a citizen of Guatemala who was deported in 2007 and 2009. He has not been charged in the crash.



11:23 a.m.

Police say a man being held in a suspected drunken driving crash that killed Indianapolis Colts linebacker Edwin Jackson has twice been deported from the U.S.

Indiana State Police said Monday that 37-year-old Manuel Orrego-Savala is a citizen of Guatemala and gave officers a fake name following the Sunday accident.

Investigators say he’s in U.S. illegally and was deported in 2007 and 2009. He remained in the Marion County Jail on Monday.

Police say the 26-year-old Jackson and 54-year-old Jeffrey Monroe were standing outside their car along Interstate 70 in Indianapolis when they were hit and killed by a pickup truck being driven by Orrego-Savala.

Police say they believe Orrego-Savala was intoxicated and driving without a license. Police say they’re working with prosecutors on potential criminal charges.

The NFL has been looking for a new executive vice president of communications and public affairs since Joe Lockhart announced he was leaving in January, and now the league has found Lockhart’s replacement within its own office.

Jocelyn Moore has been promoted to the executive vice president of communications and public affairs position, according to a memo obtained by PFT.

Moore has been in the league office for two years Nat Moore Jersey , previously leading the public policy and government affairs department in the Washington, D.C. office. Like Lockhart, she has a political background Mike Alstott Jersey , having previously worked for two U.S. senators. In addition to reporting to Lockhart at the league office, Moore previously worked for Lockhart at a D.C. lobbying firm.

As the NFL’s national anthem policy continues to make political waves, the league will have to navigate the criticism it is sure to take both from those on the left who think players should be permitted to kneel during the anthem Cameron Erving Jersey , and from those on the right who think players should be forced to stand rather than stay in the locker room. Moore will play a key role in determining the NFL’s response to that criticism.

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Thema: d Pittsburgh in the conferen
liny195

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d Pittsburgh in the conferen 19.09.2018 09:35 Forum: Werbung


Derrius Guice walked onto his new home field taking cellphone video of his surroundings and waving to fans.

It's the kind of moment he could have had on stage at the NFL draft had he gone in the first round as projected. Instead Mike Hull Jersey , the LSU running back slipped to late in the second round amid some off-field character concerns and will now give the Washington Redskins a very motivated rusher.

"I already ran angry and now I'm going to run angrier than ever," Guice said Saturday. "It's going to be tough for a lot of teams to bring me down."

In getting a run-stuffing defensive tackle in Alabama's Da'Ron Payne at 13th , a powerful running back in Guice at 59th and Louisville offensive tackle Geron Christian at 74th, the Redskins hope to solve problems in the ground game on each side of the ball. They were worst in the NFL in stopping the run and fifth-worst in rushing.

"I stop the run for a living, so I think that's going to be something easy," Payne said.

The Redskins addressed most of their needs in one way or another at the draft, trading down to recoup the third-round pick they traded for quarterback Alex Smith, adding Guice to their backfield and stocking up on defensive depth.

Guice could end up being the best value, considering that the SEC record-holder for most 250-yard games dropped amid reports of an argument during his visit with the Eagles. Philadelphia general manager Howie Roseman denied there was any altercation, and Washington was satisfied enough in its meetings with Guice that it ended his freefall.

"No one wants to hear their name be slandered like that," Guice said, repeating that he didn't know where the reports came from. "(The Redskins) didn't just go off rumors, they didn't just hear everything and believe it because they met me. They know me as a person, so they already know who I am as a person. Just to see a team not let rumors and stuff like that affect their decision to bring me in, I have to give my all to these guys. They changed my life Joe Staley Jersey , they believed in me, they trusted me."

NEED FOR SPEED: Washington added speedy Penn State safety Troy Apke with its fourth-round pick 109th overall to add to a group that already includes hard-hitting D.J. Swearinger and Montae Nicholson. Apke's 4.34-second 40-yard dash was the fastest among safeties at the scouting combine.

"I think my speed will help with everything," Apke said. "I'm going to make a name for myself on special teams first, and then after that, just make my way into playing safety there."

ON GUARD: Coach Jay Gruden saying that Christian will remain at tackle makes it a strong likelihood that Ty Nsekhe moves inside to fill the hole at starting left guard. That was the Redskins' one starting job left open going in.

"You can never have too many big bodies," Gruden said. "I believe that, and it's about protecting the passer (and) running the football."

ROLL TIDE: Taking Payne and then inside linebacker Shaun Dion Hamilton in the sixth round gives the Redskins four Alabama products over the past two drafts. Payne joked that former teammates and 2017 picks Jonathan Allen and Ryan Anderson were more excited about the Crimson Tide defensive reunion than he was.

"It should be a lot of fun," Payne said. "Just being able to come in and already have some guys that I know there ... they'll help me out with little things and just guide me in the right direction."

NEW D: Swearinger was so happy about adding Payne, Apke, fifth-round defensive tackle Tim Settle, seventh-round cornerback Greg Stroman and Hamilton that he tweeted : "Welcome to the rebirth of the new and improved Redskins defense." Time will tell if he's correct, but after injuries in 2017, at the very least, Washington has more depth.

STILL NEED: Tight end depth and a developmental quarterback prospect. Injuries to TE Jordan Reed and Vernon Davis being 34 make it a position to watch well into training camp, along with QB Earl Thomas III Jersey , if the front office wants to start thinking about the post-Smith era.

The Tampa Bay Lightning stormed back in the Eastern Conference final against the Washington Capitals, thanks in part to a thriving power play and suddenly reliable penalty-killing unit.

To regain control of the best-of-seven matchup that continues Saturday night, the Caps need a lift from their special teams, too.

”The series is tied 2-2,” Lightning coach Jon Cooper said. ”It doesn’t matter how you got there.”

Tampa Bay, which has taken two straight in a series in which the home team has yet to win, believes it hasn’t played its best.

Washington was dominant in winning twice on the road, then sputtered – particularly on the Alex Ovechkin-led power play – while dropping the next two games at home.

”I think we look at it realistically,” Capitals coach Barry Trotz said. ”I mean, I said to everybody in September, even yesterday, and they’re saying the same thing: Sign me up. Best-of-three, got a chance to maybe go to the Stanley Cup Final, sign me up.

”I don’t think anybody thought the series would go four straight or anything like that. There’s two really high-quality teams that are going to go nose-to-nose,” Trotz added. ”There’s twists and turns in the road sometimes. … It’s just another layer of adversity. This group has taken on any adversity that has been thrown its way all year.”

Since yielding three power-play goals in the first two games of the series Irving Fryar Jersey , two of them in the closing seconds of a period, the Lightning have gone 7-for-7 killing penalties over the past two games.

Not bad for a team that had one of the most potent power plays (third, 23.9 percent) in the NHL during the regular season, while also ranking among the league’s worst at killing penalties (28th, 76.1 percent).

Lightning captain Steven Stamkos has a power-play goal in each of the first four games of the conference final.

Six of his seven goals this postseason have come in man-advantage situations, including his franchise-best 11th career playoff power-play goal (snapping a tie with Martin St. Louis) in Game 4 on Thursday night.

”Desperation. Realizing how important it is, especially in this series against the group that they have,” Stamkos said of the improved play on the penalty kill.

”It starts with the goaltending, and then it starts with guys willing to sacrifice. I think it’s been a challenge,” Stamkos added. ”When the power play is going well like we are, the PK wants to step up and be just as good, and vice versa when it’s the other way. … It’s been a lot of fun to watch.”

Andrei Vasilevskiy stopped 36 of 38 shots in Game 4. He has bounced back nicely since allowing 10 goals over five periods in the first two games.

Center Nicklas Backstrom, who returned to Washington’s lineup Thursday night after missing four games with a hand injury, thinks the Capitals need to create more traffic in front of the Lightning goaltender.

”He’s actually too good of a goalie if you’re going to shoot from outside with no traffic, so maybe we can get some more traffic and find these rebounds like we did the first couple of games K'Waun Williams Jersey ,” Backstrom said.

”We have pretty good chances. We just don’t execute,” Ovechkin said after the Washington power play was shut out for the second straight game. ”We tried. … We had so (many) shots, and we just didn’t score one more goal.”

But just as Tampa Bay embraced the challenge of battling its way back into the series after losing Games 1 and 2, the Capitals are excited about the opportunity ahead, beginning Saturday night.

Not only is Washington is 7-1 on the road this postseason, but the Caps went on eliminate Columbus in the first round and Pittsburgh in the conference semifinal in six games after those series were each tied at 2.

”I think we’ve played three out of the four games pretty well,” Trotz said. ”I’m not disappointed at all.”

The Lightning are confident, too.

”Clearly home-ice advantage has been a disadvantage in this series,” Cooper said. ”Now, in saying that, I’d rather have Game 5 at home. I believe we’ll be a different team here than we showed up in Game 1 and 2.”



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Thema: ther team at any other time.
liny195

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ther team at any other time. 19.09.2018 09:22 Forum: Werbung


Once Washington realized that the services of cornerback Orlando Scandrick weren’t needed Al Davis Jersey , the team could have squatted on his rights until just before the start of the regular season, adding him to the final cuts and forcing him to scramble to find other work. Washington decided instead to let him start the process now of landing elsewhere, carrying a $1 million signing bonus with him.

“[W]hen we initially signed Orlando we had just lost Kendall [Fuller], and it was before the draft Archie Manning Jersey ,” coach Jay Gruden told reporters on Tuesday. “We drafted [Greg] Stroman and obviously we got Adonis [Alexander], and I think the emergence of Danny Johnson, Fabian Moreau at nickel. We wanted to get these guys reps at nickel and [Quinton] Dunbar at corner and move on. So, give Orlando ample time to get on a team before the season started.”

The approach carries risk. If one or more of the other corners are injured Jack Crawford Jersey , Washington will wish it still had Scandrick. By not cutting him, however, Washington would have risked owing Scandrick his $1.75 million salary for 2018 if he’d suffered a serious injury before being released.

As a vested veteran, Scandrick becomes a free agent as of 4:00 p.m. ET Andre Holmes Jersey , free to sign with any other team at any other time.

Papa John's is ending its recently stormy role as an official sponsor of the NFL.

Officials at the pizza chain said Tuesday that the two sides agreed to end the relationship, which became strained last year when its founder John Schnatter criticized NFL leadership over national anthem protests by players.

But the company based in Louisville, Kentucky, is not divorcing itself from the league altogether. It says instead it will focus its football marketing efforts on 22 of the league's 32 teams and its star players.

Schnatter blamed slowing sales growth at Papa John's on the outcry surrounding football players kneeling during the national anthem. The company later apologized for the remarks and Schnatter stepped down as CEO at the end of last year.

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Thema: games. He scored in all three pla
liny195

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games. He scored in all three pla 19.09.2018 09:06 Forum: Werbung


Former NFL player and general manager Matt Millen says he is being treated for a rare disease that has robbed his heart of most of its normal function.

The 60-year-old Millen told the Morning Call in Allentown Stephon Gilmore Jersey , Pennsylvania, he has been diagnosed with amyloidosis, a life-threatening illness that may force Millen to seek a heart transplant. Millen has been receiving chemotherapy once a week to treat a condition that his left his heart functioning at just 30 percent.

Millen played 12 seasons as a linebacker in the NFL for the Raiders, 49ers and Redskins – and won four Super Bowl rings.

He later served as Detroit’s general manager and has also spent three decades as a broadcaster. Millen told the Morning Call that he plans to return to the booth in the fall.

When Minnesota Wild owner Craig Leipold entered the team’s new practice facility a couple of weeks ago, the organizational motto was staring him in the face.

So was the advice he should make a change in the front office, despite his fondness of general manager Chuck Fletcher.

”It’s the first thing you see when you walk in the door: `Good is not good enough,”’ Leipold said. ”I felt that was a signal for me.”

The Wild split with Fletcher after nine seasons and only two playoff series wins, a decision – ”very agonizing,” Leipold said – that the 25-year veteran of NHL management would not have his contract renewed was delivered in a Monday morning meeting.

”I wanted a new set of eyes on this team Nate Solder Jersey ,” Leipold said.

The Wild have six straight postseason appearances, matching the longest current streak in the Western Conference with the Anaheim Ducks, but they have not reached the second round since 2015. They were only 15-29 in playoff games during Fletcher’s tenure, enough evidence that the roster wasn’t built well enough for all the success the team has enjoyed in the regular season.

”Right now I just don’t see us with this team getting to the championship series. I just don’t see it,” Leipold said. ”I think we’re a good team. I really do, and I just talked to our players about this. They’re a good team, but they’re not good enough right now.”

Since Fletcher stunned the NHL by signing left wing Zach Parise and defenseman Ryan Suter, the market’s most-coveted free agents in 2012, the Wild have been a runaway success on the business side with sellouts at Xcel Energy Center as routine as the aroma of mini donuts and the swish of the skates on the ice. The fans have been frustrated by the postseason plateau Kirk Cousins Jersey , though, and Leipold bluntly acknowledged he dismissed Fletcher in part to appease the customers.

”The fans deserve to win one here,” Leipold said. ”This is the state of hockey, and I’m really confident that we’re going to have candidates that are interested in coming here because of our fans, because of our market, because of our team. I’m energized by the opportunity to talk to some of these people.”

Leipold, who purchased the Wild the year before hiring Fletcher, said the move was unrelated to the Wild’s early exit this year. They lost in five games in the first round to the Winnipeg Jets, after being ousted in five games in 2017 by the St. Louis Blues. Last year Xavier Rhodes Jersey , Leipold declined to extend Fletcher’s deal.

”My antenna’s been up,” Leipold said. ”Chuck and I have had numerous conversations all year. I wanted to wait until the end of the year to assess everything, to understand how I feel about where we’re going. Are we still in the window to win the Stanley Cup? I believe we are. He believed we are. But my personal feeling was that I wanted someone new to come in and kind of shake it up.”

Leipold said he won’t order a significant rebuild, nor does he believe that’s necessary for postseason progress. He added he would not hire a general manager who recommended a long-haul approach to hoisting the Stanley Cup.

”We were sixth overall two years ago. We were eighth overall this year,” coach Bruce Boudreau said. ”We’ve got an awful lot of good, moving parts there. We’ll tweak it a little bit, and we’ll be better.”

The Wild haven’t struggled enough to get a game-changer in the draft, with Matt Dumba in 2012 (seventh) and Mikael Granlund in 2010 (ninth) the only top-10 picks that Fletcher and his staff had. The rival Jets, for example Daryl Worley Jersey , picked up Patrik Laine with the second overall selection in 2016 and watched him finish second in the NHL with 44 goals in 2017-18 while the team posted the second-best record in the league.

In one way, the Parise-Suter signings for 13 years and $98 million each have worked against the Wild considering they account for 20 percent of their salary cap space and are on the books for seven more seasons. But Suter had a career-high 45 assists, before breaking his right ankle with four games left in the regular season, and Parise was one of the team’s best forwards down the stretch with 12 goals in the last 19 games. He scored in all three playoff games before breaking his sternum.

Trades that didn’t pan out under Fletcher have hurt the Wild more than any free-agent signing or first-round draft pick. Charlie Coyle is all that’s left from the deal that sent defenseman Brent Burns to San Jose in 2011, and Coyle didn’t notch a goal or an assist in the series against the Jets. The trade last summer that sent Jason Pominville and Marco Scandella to Buffalo for Marcus Foligno and Tyler Ennis didn’t wind up helping.

So Fletcher’s successor will eventually go to work on a roster that produced a goal-less streak of 141:27 to end the series with Winnipeg.

”If you look at the teams moving on, the teams that are winning, they’re scoring and playing at a pretty fast pace,” Parise said. ”We’ve got to get to that level.”



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Thema: not going to stand up? This is our country, man.
liny195

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not going to stand up? This is our country, man. 19.09.2018 08:54 Forum: Werbung


FOXBOROUGH Derrick Thomas Jersey , Mass. (AP) — Injuries prevented the Texans from finding out exactly what their team could have been last season.

Star defensive end J.J. Watt, linebacker Whitney Mercilus and quarterback Deshaun Watson were among 21 Houston players that spent time on injured reserve during the 2017 campaign. The season predictably imploded, ending with six straight losses.

But before the avalanche of injuries, the Texans gave the eventual AFC champion New England Patriots all they could handle during a Week 3 visit to Gillette Stadium.

Despite having a rookie signal caller in Watson, the Texans’ offense matched touchdowns with the Patriots. Houston was headed for an improbable victory before Tom Brady rescued his team with a 25-yard touchdown pass to Brandin Cooks in the final minute to give New England a 36-33 victory.

Now healed and with a revamped defense, the Texans return to New England on Sunday, hoping to put their misfortunes in the past as they open the 2018 season.

That is particularly true in the case of Watt, who has had parts of the past two seasons derailed by injuries .

He played just three games in 2016 before being sidelined with a herniated disc. The three-time Defensive Player of the Year then appeared in five games last season before having his year ended by a fractured left tibia.

“I’m just looking forward to playing football again,” Watt said. “Obviously the last two years have been very rough for me. You want to play and everything that I’ve had to go through in the rehabs and the recoveries and all that it took and then, obviously LaDainian Tomlinson Jersey , (Hurricane Harvey) as well.

“But I’m just looking to getting back out on the field, playing football, flying around with the guys, doing what I love.”

Meanwhile, the Patriots begin yet another season as the favorite in a conference they have dominated for nearly two decades thanks to Brady. He’s now 41, but has yet to show any signs of diminished capacity coming off an MVP season.

He’ll have a new-look receiving corps following the offseason departures of Danny Amendola and Cooks, as well as the four-game suspension of Julian Edelman for violating the NFL’s policy on performance enhancers.

Though he’s already secured his place in the Hall of Fame and may possibly end his career as the most accomplished quarterback in league history, Brady reiterated this week in the final installment of his Facebook Watch series “Tom Vs Time” that he wants to play five more seasons .

“I think I can do it,” he said. “It’ll be a challenge for me. I don’t think it’s going to be easy. It’s going to be hard to do. I think it’s going to be very hard to do. But I think I can do it. And once you stop you’re done. And I think I’m not ready to say I’m done, because I don’t feel like I am.”

Here are some other things to know about Sunday’s matchup between the Texans and Patriots:

CLOWNEY COMING: After having the best season of his career in 2017 Carl Banks Jersey , Jadeveon Clowney is looking to do even more this year as part of a line that also features Watt.

The top overall pick in the 2014 draft finished last year second in the NFL with a career-high 21 tackles for losses, and his 9 1/2 sacks, 21 quarterback hits and two forced fumbles were also career bests. He started all 16 games for the first time after struggling with injuries through the early part of his career, and his 59 tackles in 2017 were the most of his career.

“My goal is to make more plays than I did last year … improving my sacks and tackles for loss and everything,” he said. “I just want to do that again. With everybody back this year the sky’s the limit for this defense and myself. I just have to come out and put it all together.”

SPOTLESS RECORD: Houston is one of four teams New England has an undefeated regular-season home record against (4-0). The Patriots are 5-0 against Baltimore, 4-0 against Chicago and 4-0 against Jacksonville.

The Patriots also have won the last five regular-season meetings with the Texans overall.

HAVING HIS WAY: Aside from his late-game heroics last season, Brady has been equally steady against the Texans during his career. He has an 8-1 record against Houston, passing for 22 touchdowns and 2,565 yards (regular season and playoffs).

CONTAINING WATSON: Patriots linebacker Dont’a Hightower will be playing in his first regular-season game since suffering a season-ending shoulder injury last October. He said he’s excited about the challenge of trying to contain Watson, who had his way with the Patriots in their meeting last season Larry Csonka Jersey , passing for 301 yards and two touchdowns. Hightower said putting pressure on Watson early will be key to trying to slow him down.

“I think that’s the biggest thing … just not letting those guys get comfortable inside the pocket,” Hightower said. “Hopefully we’ll do a good job this week containing him in the run and pass game.”

— Jim Brown has spent much of his post-NFL career fighting for social justice and change.

However, the Hall of Fame running back would never kneel during the national anthem.

The 82-year-old Brown, who championed civil rights during his playing career and became an activist in retirement, said Tuesday night that he respects players’ rights to do what they want but his preference is they would stand during “The Star-Spangled Banner.”

“I’ll never kneel and I will always respect the flag,” said Brown, who spoke before an HBO premiere of “Hard Knocks,” which is chronicling the Cleveland Browns in training camp.

Brown was asked how he would resolve the anthem issue, which has plagued the league for two years.

“Well, if you take the bottom line Doug Flutie Jersey , what are we talking about? We’re talking about freedom to express one’s self, and if you don’t break any rules then you have that particular right,” he said.

“I am not going to denigrate my flag and I’m going to stand for the national anthem. I’m fighting with all of my strength to make it a better country, but I don’t think that’s the issue. Because what is the top side? Are you not going to stand up? This is our country, man.

“We work hard to make it better and that’s my attitude, so I don’t relate to this issue because it’s newsworthy because where are your superstars? And where are they at? Aren’t they making comments?”

Protests during the anthem have enveloped the league since former San Francisco quarterback Colin Kaepernick took a knee to protest social injustice.

The NFL modified its anthem protocol in May, prohibiting demonstrations for 2018, but allowing players to remain in the locker room during the anthem.

The players’ union filed a grievance, and the change has been tabled while the NFL and NFLPA work on a resolution.

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Thema: two starts against the Astros.
liny195

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two starts against the Astros. 19.09.2018 08:32 Forum: Werbung


Malcolm Butler says he and his fellow members of the Tennessee Titans‘ secondary have set high goals for this season Julian Edelman Jersey , and All-Pro safety Kevin Byard and cornerback Logan Ryan make it clear just how much they expect from themselves.

”We want to be, if not the best, one of the best secondaries in the league this year,” Byard said.

Ryan adds: ”Our expectations are to be the best we can be, whatever that may be. We expect it and want to be tops in the league.”

Bold talk, and yes it’s only June as the Titans prepare to wrap up their offseason program Thursday with the end of a three-day minicamp. Tennessee certainly has invested heavily in its secondary, enough that the players in this unit believe they should be a vital piece of a defense being molded by new coordinator Dean Pees and head coach Mike Vrabel.

The Titans have used draft picks and spent millions of dollars in remaking the secondary under general manager Jon Robinson over the past three offseasons. Tennessee selected Byard with the first pick of the third round in 2016 and cornerback Adoree Jackson with the 18th selection overall in 2017 . Ryan was a top addition as a free agent in March 2017 followed by signing Butler this past March – both signed away from New England.

Add in safety Johnathan Cyprien, another free agent addition, and it’s a group that wants to set the tone for the defense on the field.

”That’s all talk right now,” Byard said. ”At the end of the day, we’re going out here, we have the opportunity to actually be on the field right now and work with each other, and get the communication down D.J. Fluker Jersey , learn the defense, and going against a tough receiver crew in the Titans. That’s what we’re doing every single day. We know what we’re chasing, but this is all talk right now. We have to go to work.”

Tennessee has room for improvement. The Titans ranked 25th against the pass, giving up 239.3 yards per game. They tied for 18th with 12 interceptions thanks to Byard tied for the NFL-high with eight . Four other Titans each had an interception apiece, and only LeShaun Sims and Tye Smith remain on the roster with Byard.

Jackson was one of just two rookies in the NFL to start every game at cornerback, and only Tyrann Mathieu of Arizona played more snaps (1,261) than Jackson (1,260). But the cornerback who had five interceptions as a junior at Southern California before leaving early for the NFL still is looking for his first pick as a pro.

”My dad always tells me about it, so that’s probably my biggest critic that I have,” said Jackson, who noted he returned his first interception for a touchdown as a sophomore.

Ryan intercepted 13 passes over his first four seasons in the NFL with the Patriots. That earned him a three-year deal with the Titans in March 2017, but he went all season without picking off a pass for the first time in his career. Butler has eight interceptions over his past three seasons, which helped earn him a five-year contract from Tennessee.

”I’m pretty sure they’ll bump that number up from zero this year Jack Crawford Jersey ,” Butler said of Ryan and Jackson. ”Everyone wants the ball. We’ve just got to play hard and just play as a team and everything will work itself out.”

Vrabel brought in Kerry Coombs from Ohio State to coach the Titans’ secondary, a man with 35 years of experience making his NFL debut with Tennessee. Coombs isn’t ready to compare their secondary to anyone else right now even as he loves their chemistry, athleticism and work ethic.

”I can’t wait to go play against somebody else to see,” Coombs said. ”But I think our goal obviously is to be in that conversation.”




KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Four Houston Astros starting pitchers have won at least eight games this season. They are Gerrit Cole, Charlie Morton, Justin Verlander and Lance McCullers.

The lone exception is left-hander Dallas Keuchel, the 2015 American League Cy Young Award winner. Keuchel, who pitches Saturday against the Kansas City Royals, is 3-8 with a 3.71 ERA in 14 starts this season.

Keuchel has allowed 90 hits, including a dozen home runs, and walked 32 while striking out 81 in 82 1/3 innings. He has a 3-1 career record against the Royals in six starts. He had a no-decision against them last year, allowing two hits and one run in seven innings.

If Keuchel is the weak link in the Astros’ rotation Sony Michel Jersey , that is a fearsome five.

“The Gerrit Cole addition was great and Verlander was a great addition to them last year,” Royals manager Ned Yost said. “The thing that is so important is they make these deals in hopes they can get them over the hump with a World Series, and it did.

“They’ve got a fantastic rotation. They’ve got a fantastic group of young talented, athletic players. They’re a good team. They’re a tough match.”

The Astros (46-25) reminded the Royals just how good they are with a 7-3 victory on Friday night in the opener of a three-game series at Kauffman Stadium. Evan Gattis, who drove in five Houston runs on Tuesday and Wednesday in Oakland, hit a sixth-inning grand slam.

The Royals (22-47) took a hit besides in the loss column when starting right fielder Jorge Soler left with a fractured first left metatarsal in the sixth inning. He stumbled out of the blocks while grounding out. It is the same foot Soler fouled a ball off last Friday in Oakland and then did not play again until Tuesday.

Yost said he did not know if the injuries are related. He said Soler would be out for an extended period. The Royals will make a roster move Saturday with Soler, who was on crutches in the clubhouse after the loss, headed for the disabled list.

Both clubs made roster moves Friday. Astros left-hander Reymin Guduan was placed on the paternity list. They recalled infielder Tyler White from Triple-A Fresno, where he was hitting .338 with a 1.023 OPS in 62 games.

The Royals purchased the contract of right-handed reliever Brandon Maurer from Triple-A Omaha. In his past seven outings, he ran off a scoreless streak of 12 2/3 innings while striking out 10 and holding opponents to a .163 batting average with one extra-base hit.

The Royals optioned rookie right-hander Jason Adam to Omaha. Adam had allowed six home runs, including a grand slam Wednesday, in 15 1/3 innings.

Left-hander Danny Duffy, who is 3-6 with a 3.28 ERA in 14 starts Lance Kendricks Jersey , is the Royals’ probable starter Saturday. He is coming off his best start of the season, tossing seven scoreless innings last Saturday in Oakland, allowing three hits and striking out a career high 10.

Duffy is 2-2 with a 4.50 ERA in eight outings, four of them starts, against the Astros. He owns a 2.08 ERA in his last two starts against the Astros.

The Royals will attempt to snap a four-game losing streak. They have dropped 10 of their last 11 and are 10-24 at home. They’ve scored just 26 runs in 13 games in June, when they are hitting .183.

The Astros have the best road record (27-11) in the majors. They have won their last eight road games, three shy of the club record set last year. They have logged at least a dozen hits in five straight games, the second longest streak in franchise history and trailing only a seven-game streak set in 2007.

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Ben Simmons topped LeBron James in a triple-double battle to lead the Philadelphia 76ers to their 13th straight win in their biggest game in six years Jarran Reed Jersey , 132-130 over the Cleveland Cavaliers on Friday night.

With a buzz in the city over the Sixers that hasn’t been felt since the pre-Process days, they romped toward a 30-point lead over the Cavs in the first half and scored 78 points at the break.

Simmons had 27 points, 15 rebounds and 13 assists. James had 44 points (17-of-29 shooting), 11 assists and 11 rebounds, bringing the Cavaliers to the brink of an epic comeback.

The Sixers (49-30) moved into third place in the Eastern Conference over the Cavaliers (49-31).

RAPTORS 92, PACERS 73

TORONTO (AP) – Serge Ibaka scored a season-high 25 points, DeMar DeRozan had 12 and Toronto beat Indiana, clinching first place in the Eastern Conference for the first time in team history.

Jakbo Poeltl scored 10 points as the Raptors set franchise records for wins in a season (57) and home wins (33).

Kyle Lowry had nine points and nine assists, and Jonas Valanciunas added 12 rebounds for Toronto, which never trailed in its ninth consecutive home victory over the Pacers. Indiana last won north of the border on March 1 Patrick Kerney Jersey , 2013.

Glenn Robinson III scored 12 points and Trevor Booker had 11 for the Pacers. Indiana shot 26 for 87 (29.9 percent) and set season-lows in points, made field goals, and field goal percentage.

CELTICS 111, BULLS 104

BOSTON (AP) – Greg Monroe came off the bench and had 19 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists, and Boston defeated Chicago.

It is Monroe’s second career triple-double. Jaylen Brown finished with a career-high 32 points and four rebounds.

With Al Horford and Jayson Tatum given the night off to rest, Boston went deep into its bench against a Chicago team that’s one of the worst in the NBA.

Chicago led by as many as 11 in the first half before Boston trimmed it to 58-55 at the half. But the Celtics outscored the Bulls 56-46 over the final two quarters.

Sean Kilpatrick led the Bulls with 24 points. Lauri Markkanen added 20 points and five rebounds.

TIMBERWOLVES 113, LAKERS 96

LOS ANGELES (AP) – Jimmy Butler scored 18 points in his return from right knee surgery, Jeff Teague had 25 points and eight assists, and Minnesota beat Los Angeles.

Butler played 22 minutes and was 7 for 10 from the field in his first game since getting hurt against Houston on Feb. 23. He had surgery two days later for a cartilage injury and missed 17 games.

Minnesota moved into sole possession of eighth place in the Western Conference.

Taj Gibson also scored 18 points and grabbed 10 rebounds Frank Gore Jersey , while Karl-Anthony Towns had 14 points and 11 rebounds for the Timberwolves, who were on the second night of a back-to-back. They lost to the Denver Nuggets on Thursday.

Julius Randle scored 20 points and added 10 rebounds for the Lakers, who have lost nine of their last 13. Brook Lopez had 18 points and six rebounds, while Josh Hart tallied 20 points and 11 rebounds off the bench.

HAWKS 103 WIZARDS 97

WASHINGTON (AP) – Taurean Prince scored 23 points, including 10 in the fourth quarter, and Atlanta beat Washington.

Washington dropped its fourth straight game and fell into eighth place in the Eastern Conference.

Bradley Beal led the Wizards with 32 points.

Wizards point guard John Wall sat out what was the second of back-to-back games for Washington, and forward Markieff Morris left with 4:11 remaining in the first quarter when he picked up two quick technical fouls.

Six Hawks scored in double figures. Reserve Tyler Dorsey had 22 points, including 13 in the second half for the Hawks, who had lost two straight.

Kelly Oubre Jr. scored 13 points for the Wizards and Otto Porter Jr. had 10.

PELICANS 122, SUNS 103

PHOENIX (AP) – Nikola Mirotic scored a season-high 31 points and tied a season best with 16 rebounds Doug Martin Jersey , Anthony Davis had 33 points and 11 boards, and New Orleans beat Phoenix.

Jrue Holiday added 22 points and 10 assists to help the Pelicans move into a tie for the Western Conference’s fifth seed with idle San Antonio and Oklahoma City. New Orleans (45-34) won its second straight after losing four in a row.

The Pelicans led by double digits throughout the entire fourth quarter.

Marquese Chriss led Phoenix with 23 points and Josh Jackson added 22 points and 11 rebounds. The Suns have lost 16 of 17 and are closer to clinching the NBA’s worst record.

PISTONS 113, MAVERICKS 106, OT

DETROIT (AP) – Reggie Jackson scored 12 of his 24 points in the fourth quarter and overtime and Detroit beat Dallas.

Andre Drummond added 19 points and 16 rebounds for the Pistons, who had six scorers in double figures.

Johnathan Motley led the Mavericks with career highs of 26 points and 12 rebounds.

Detroit led 101-98 with a minute left in regulation, but Dallas coach Rick Carlisle kept starters Harrison Barnes, Dwight Powell and Dennis Smith Jr. on the bench.

Luke Kennard missed a clinching 3-pointer, and after Dallas turned the ball over, Jackson missed a shot that would have made it a five-point game with 30 seconds left.

Motley tied the score with a 3 with 10.1 seconds left, and Jackson’s buzzer-beater bounced off the front rim.

Detroit moved ahead 110-105 with 1:29 in overtime Jason Spriggs Jersey , and after a Dallas offensive foul, Jackson’s floater sealed the victory.

KINGS 94, GRIZZLIES 93

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) – Bogdan Bogdanovic connected on a 16-footer with a second left to help Sacramento escape with a victory over Memphis.

Bogdanovic’s jumper capped a close game between two The Tennessee Titans and Pro Bowl tight end Delanie Walker have agreed to a two-year extension keeping him under contract through the 2020 season.

The Titans announced the deal Friday, hours after signing Pro Bowl left tackle Taylor Lewan to a five-year contract.

Walker has played in three straight Pro Bowls and was the game’s MVP in January. Now 33, Walker is entering his 13th season and sixth with Tennessee.

Since 2013, Walker has 356 catches for the most in the NFL by a tight end. Only Rob Gronkowski and Greg Olson have had more than his 4,156 yards receiving in that span.

Walker led the Titans with 74 catches for 807 yards last season, his fourth straight with more than 800 yards.



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A report from Josina Anderson of ESPN on Monday indicated that the Giants have offered wide receiver Odell Beckham a long-term contract with an annual average salary that comes in under the $16 million per year that the Chiefs will pay Sammy Watkins.

That seems like a non-starter Chris Godwin Jersey , especially with the price tag for a non-exclusive franchise tag for wide receivers in the 2019 season set to come in at a bigger number. Another report that casts the talks in a different light surfaced later on Monday, however.

Ian Rapoport of NFL Media reports that the Giants and Beckham’s agent Zeke Sandhu have talked about a deal that would make Beckham the highest-paid receiver in the league. Rapoport adds that the sides are encouraged a deal could come by the start of the regular season.

In tweets following her initial report, Anderson wrote that the annual average salary figure for the prospective deal she reported on would include this season’s $8.459 million salary. A deal could make Beckham the highest-paid receiver based on the new money that the Giants would pony up, although Anderson also added that her “understanding is new money isn’t ballpark [for highest-paid wideout] either.”

Where things actually sit between the Giants and Beckham is known by those two sides and there will likely be more reports about how talks are shaping up until something is finalized.

The more I hear about the new helmet rule, the more concerned I am that NFL football will be changing so dramatically that it may become unrecognizable. Bit by bit, tweak by tweak Will Lutz Jersey , rule change by rule change, the game could — in the name of player safety, an admirable goal — become so safe that it fundamentally changes.

It’s an evolution that, when looking back over 20 years, feels more like a revolution. The NFL, after decades of denial regarding the risks of head trauma Morgan Cox Jersey , apparently believes that the game must become safer in order to sustain its supply of players. At some point, however, fans of football the way it used to be played will feel alienated. And the risk isn’t that they’ll shun football; it’s that they’ll clamor for old-school football, and that a billionaire entrepreneur eventually will give it to them.

The latest step toward the far side of the Rubicon comes not from the changes to the kickoff rule (the kickoff is already dead, even if no one realizes it) but from the latest disclosure regarding the true extent of the new helmet rule. After two months of uncertainty, we now know that it applies not only in the open field but also in the trenches Brian Poole Jersey , where the task of sifting through bodies and spotting blows inflicted with a helmet on a consistent and fair basis becomes virtually impossible. Depending on how the rule ultimately is enforced, the between-the-tackles running game could wither, skewing the game even more toward glorified seven-on-seven drills.

Again, the goal is admirable. But football isn’t the only violent or risky endeavor. If the players willingly participate in the unsanitized version of the game (and at this point there’s no way any player can claim he doesn’t know the risks) and if fans willingly consume football as it historically has been played, is that a problem?

Apparently it is. Apparently the NFL thinks that parents will determine whether football is something that their children should play based not on the rules and realities of the youth version of the sport but on the images that emerge from the flat screen on Thursdays, Sundays Kiko Alonso Jersey , and Mondays.

For more on the helmet rule and my concerns regarding how it emerged and where it may be taking the game, check out the opening segment of Wednesday’s PFT Live.

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WINNIPEG Will Hernandez Jersey , Manitoba — If you had asked the Winnipeg Jets a week ago if they would take a split after the first two games of their playoff series against the Nashville Predators, they would have said “yes” faster than Patrik Laine can unleash a one-timer.

But that didn’t mean there wasn’t some disappointment in the Jets’ dressing room after their 5-4 double-overtime loss in Game 2 on Sunday night. But just as they’ve done all year long, the Jets processed the result and started preparing for the next battle.

“It’s a sucky way to lose,” Jets center Mark Scheifele told a media scrum after the game. “But we played a better game (Sunday) than we did on Friday. That’s a positive. We can be upset for 10 minutes and then after that we’ve got to get our rest and get ready for Tuesday.”

Scheifele scored two more goals in Game 2 to give him a league-leading eight through seven games.

The Jets wrestled away home-ice advantage thanks to their 4-1 victory at Bridgestone Arena on Friday and would like nothing better than to maintain it through Game 4 on Thursday. The Jets have won 12 consecutive games at Bell MTS Place starting in the latter part of the regular season through the first round of the playoffs against Minnesota.

Winnipeg had the best home record in the NHL in the regular season at 32-7-2. Coincidentally, their last loss was a 6-5 decision against the Predators on Feb. 27.

“These are tests, this time of year,” 36-year-old Jets center Matt Hendricks said from his locker stall Sunday night. “This is the hardest championship to win in pro sports and getting into these extra overtimes and testing your will, testing your conditioning and testing your mental game? This is what everybody has to go through.”

The Predators flew into Winnipeg on Monday afternoon and the President’s Trophy winners were jubilant as they checked into their downtown hotel.

Center Nick Bonino said he couldn’t remember the 6-5 win because it was so long ago, but he was sure they played a “solid” road game, as they did all year long. He said his team won’t be phased by the more than 15 Chad Henne Jersey ,000 fanatics who will be dressed in white on Tuesday and screaming themselves hoarse.

Nashville tied Tampa Bay for the most road wins in the NHL in the regular season with 25.

“We’ve been to a lot of buildings that are loud, but (Bridgestone and Bell MTS Place) are two of the loudest I think in the league,” he told The Tennessean. “It’s just like Nashville; it’s a loud arena with passionate fans. They wanted the team back in Winnipeg. They got it back and they have a great team now, so the fans are pumped up and ready to go.”

Game 4 will be Thursday night and, regardless of the outcome, the teams will return to Nashville for Game 5 on Saturday.

The Nashville Predators are right where they are supposed to be.

The pick by many to win the Stanley Cup in June, the President’s Trophy winners are up 2-0 on Colorado in the first-round series and heading to Denver to finish off the pesky Avalanche.

While the series looks lopsided, it’s a lot closer than the 2-0 advantage. Colorado has led in both games and nearly rallied to force overtime in Saturday’s 5-4 Nashville win. Despite mounting injuries, the Avalanche are confident heading home, where they have won 28 games this season.

Still Marcus Sherels Jersey , the sting of losing both games in Nashville lingers for eighth-seeded Colorado ahead of Monday’s Game 3.

“We played hard, but we lost, so it doesn’t really matter. It’s tough,” center Nathan MacKinnon, who had a goal and an assist to give him three points in the series, told reporters after Saturday’s loss. “I thought we played two pretty good games here in Nashville, and we couldn’t get a win.”

MacKinnon has been productive despite his line — which includes Mikko Rantanen and captain Gabriel Landeskog — being the focus of the Predators’ defense. He had 97 points in the regular season and is a serious Hart Trophy candidate as the NHL MVP, and he hasn’t slowed down in the postseason.

“Oh man, he’s special,” Predators forward Austin Watson told The Tennessean. “I mean Riley Reiff Jersey , you don’t have the year he had this year without being a pretty incredible player. And just his line as a whole, they play the game with so much speed, you can’t get caught standing still.

“I mean, if you are, they’ll blow right around you. Even if you think you’re doing a good job on them, you can’t really take your foot off the gas at all or they’ll turn it back on you and get chances.”

The Predators have some special players, too, including Filip Forsberg, who scored a highlight-reel goal in Game 1. Nashville won’t take Colorado lightly because it knows how dangerous a No. 8 seed can be. The Predators reached the Cup finals last year as the eighth seed in the West.

But Nashville has a healthy squad that has won 12 straight against Colorado dating back to the end of the 2015-16 season. The Avalanche, on the other hand Christian Okoye Jersey , are playing without No. 1 defenseman Erik Johnson, top goaltender Semyon Varlamov and may not have rookie defenseman Samuel Girard for Game 3.

Girard was scratched from Game 2 with an upper-body injury and his status for Monday’s Game 3 is not known.

Both teams are hoping for a cleaner game in Denver. Game 2 was cluttered with 14 penalties — seven for each team — which might have been a result of Nashville center Ryan Johansen’s hit on Colorado defenseman Tyson Barrie in Game 1.

The Avalanche felt Johansen should have been suspended but the league didn’t agree. One thing that came out of it was a rivalry was born.

Nashville’s goal is to get the series over quickly. A win in Game 3 will make it nearly impossible for Colorado to win the series, and the young team knows it.

“There’s definitely no quit on their side,” Johansen Saturday. “That’s with every team in the playoffs, but they play desperate, they play fast, they’ve got a lot of young skill over there. We’ve got to make sure we close out games better.”

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Alex Ovechkin has brought the Stanley Cup to the World Cup.

The Washington Capitals captain took the NHL trophy to a fan zone in Moscow where World Cup games are screened. With the Russian National Guard providing security John Lynch Jersey , Ovechkin lifted the cup above his head in front of a crowd of fans, who were allowed to take photos with the trophy.

”The cup is with us. The cup is in Moscow, Russia Jim Otto Jersey ,” Ovechkin said. ”I am very happy for the people that can see it and touch it. I am very, very happy.”

Ovechkin said he wishes the Russian soccer team well in its quarterfinal match against Croatia in Sochi.

”The national team did a great a job for the fans. Everyone is so happy. Miracles can happen. We are not far away from the final,” he said. ”We need to fight Matt Haack Jersey , and our players understand it. They will do everything that they can.”

Ovechkin won his first Stanley Cup championship a month ago in his 13th season in Washington.

Other Russian NHL players are also interested in soccer. Evgeni Malkin of the Pittsburgh Penguins posted a picture on Instagram showing himself on a luxury jet with Ilya Kovalchuk of the Los Angeles Kings and Alexander Radulov of the Dallas Stars.

”Flying to Sochi” was the caption.



Police in Massachusetts have arrested a man in connection with a burglary at New England Patriots player Rob Gronkowski's home while he was at the Super Bowl.

Foxborough police say 31-year-old Anthony Almeida was charged Friday with breaking and entering, receiving stolen property and malicious destruction of property after his home in Randolph was searched.

Gronkowski's home in Foxborough was burglarized in February while his team was in Minnesota to play against the Philadelphia Eagles. The tight end's roommates also reported items stolen. Authorities have recovered an Apple watch, a Rolex watch and some rare coins so far.

Police say they're seeking two other suspects: 26-year-old Shayne Denn Barkevious Mingo Jersey , of Tewksbury, and 28-year-old Eric Tyrrell, of Foxborough.

Almeida was arraigned Friday. It's unclear whether he's represented by an attorney.


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Clay Matthews is learning new playbook terminology this spring under a new defensive coordinator DeAndre Washington Jersey , though his overall goals haven't changed.

It's more important than ever for the Green Bay Packers' long-haired linebacker to get to the quarterback.

The Packers didn't add a potential game-changing edge rusher in free agency or via the draft. They focused on another defensive priority and replenished the cornerback position with veteran Tramon Williams and draft picks Jaire Alexander and Josh Jackson.

That leaves Matthews and Nick Perry as leaders of a pass rush that had trouble getting consistent pressure last year.

"Well, I wasn't surprised with the first two picks. ... But obviously, you look at the depth at the outside linebacker position, and it's not that great," Matthews said. "That's not a slight to the guys who are behind Nick and myself, but you look around the league, a lot of times they're rotating in pass rushers."

The Packers had veteran Julius Peppers in the mix on the edge a couple seasons ago, but he returned to Carolina in 2017. Second-year player Kyler Fackrell and veteran Ahmad Brooks, who combined for 4 F sacks Joey Bosa Jersey , were the primary backups outside.

Matthews and Perry each missed time last season with injuries. With a lack of production from the bench, getting fresh blood seemed to make sense.

Matthews said he understands that signings don't always go as planned for the front office. There are only so many draft picks to make. The salary cap limits spending.

"I'm happy with the picks they made, and at the same time it does show ... their confidence in Nick and myself, as well as the guys we have," Matthews said. "At some time I'm sure it will be addressed, but for the time being the guys we have here are the guys who have to hold up their end of the bargain."

It would help if Fackrell and second-year player Vince Biegel became more productive. Biegel missed the first seven games last season because of a foot injury.

"The biggest gains we've always made have been from our returning players, particularly the second, third year players," coach Mike McCarthy said after the draft about outside linebacker depth.

The pass rush could get more productive if other areas of the defense also improve.

Tighter pass coverage could give edge rushers more time to get to the quarterback. Green Bay also hopes to get more push up front from free agent signee Muhammad Wilkerson Takkarist McKinley Jersey , who has 44 1/2 career sacks.

He joins Mike Daniels, Kenny Clark and Dean Lowry on the line, which should be the strength of new coordinator Mike Pettine's defense. Pettine was the New York Jets' defensive coordinator in Wilkerson's first two years in the league in 2011-12.

"Everybody's learning, some of the wording is a little different from back years ago when I was with Pettine," Wilkerson said. "We're all getting through it."

Matthews knows that Pettine wants to be aggressive, though there is plenty of time to figure out exactly what role he'll play this fall. It's quite possible that it doesn't change much after Matthews showed the flexibility to play both outside and inside the last few years.

Pettine replaced Dom Capers, who was fired after the 7-9 season. Capers had been Matthews' only defensive coordinator since the linebacker entered the league in 2009.

"Like I said, someone needed to fall on the knife. I think it's all done to get better results, and that's exactly what we're here for JK Scott Jersey ," Matthews said. "In the new defense we're getting ready to hit this season strong and, like I said, hold up our end of the bargain."

Andre Johnson, the No. 3 overall pick in 2003, caught 1,012 passes for 13,597 and 70 touchdowns in his 12 years with the Texans. DeAndre Hopkins, the 27th overall pick in 2013, already has 413 catches for 5 K.J. Wright Jersey ,865 yards and 36 touchdowns in his five seasons.

“I definitely think he’s arguably the best in the game,” Johnson said, via Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle. “He finally has a quarterback that’s pretty steady.”

Johnson, who retired after the 2016 season, played with 10 quarterbacks in his time in Houston. Matt Schaub was the best of them.

Hopkins will get to play with Deshaun Watson, a first-round pick in 2017 who looked the part until tearing his ACL.

“I tell people all the time when he got drafted here that’s the most I’ve been happy about a draft pick that was made here,” Johnson said. “It’s no offense to the guys who’ve been drafted. I was just excited to see them bring in a quarterback like that.”

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Marc-Andre Fleury never believed the expansion Vegas Golden Knights were a team built just for the future Otis Sistrunk Jersey , and that losing would be acceptable because it was the inaugural season.

On Sept. 13, the three-time Stanley Cup goaltender said: ”It’s not something I accept. Every guy here wants to win. We know where we’re at, we won’t accept losing. We’re looking at winning some games.”

With help from Fleury, the Golden Knights did a lot more than win some games. They’re one of the most successful expansion teams ever. In any sport.

”It’s a good thing it worked out, so I don’t look like a fool,” Fleury said Friday about his bold preseason statement.

”Every guy here has a lot of pride in the way we play, the way we look at ourselves as a team every night. We all have pride in winning and I think it’s shown throughout the season, and in the (first round of the) playoffs, too.”

Fleury dominated the Los Angeles Kings in the first round. The Golden Knights became just the sixth team to allow three or fewer goals in a playoff series going back to 1980.

With an 0.65 goals-against average Fleury joined a short list of goalies since 1967-68 who have won all four games of a playoff series and kept their GAA to 0.70 or fewer.

Same ole Fleury, different team.

”We played some very sound hockey and when we didn’t, when we were having a bad period or a bad stretch, goaltending was there to help us stabilize,” Vegas general manager George McPhee said. ”And that’s why he’s here Frank Clark Jersey , that’s what he gets paid to do and he does it very well.”

Next up: the San Jose Sharks.

After fans watched a stellar goaltending matchup between Fleury and Kings’ Jonathan Quick, the 14-year veteran faces a San Jose team that had goalie Martin Jones stop 128 of 132 shots in a sweep of the Anaheim Ducks.

”Their goalie is very good; their defensemen also contribute to their attacks, they’re a quicker team than L.A. I think they’ll create more offensively,” Fleury said. ”It’ll be a little more fast pace and a little more open hockey, they’ll be a little more up and down.”

Fleury will prepare with a meticulous approach and tranquil execution that impresses teammates.

”His calmness in the net is unbelievable,” defenseman Shea Theodore said. ”When you’re having little chit chats on the ice and you’ve been hemmed in and they’ve had five or six or seven Grade A chances and he’s been flopping around, you go to talk to him. . He’s just so calm and so patient in the net, I feel it definitely calms our group down.”

Forward Cody Eakin said Fleury always lets his teammates know he is aware of their play.

”It’s just a huge part of his game, tracking pucks, being sharp, or knowing what’s going on around him – he’s phenomenal at that,” Eakin said. ”It gives you confidence when he’s talking to you, or you can talk to him Chris Wormley Jersey , or skate by and give him a wink. He’s pretty amazing.”

Amazing, like the Golden Knights’ improbable season. And Fleury said they’re just getting started.

”We’re not done here,” he said, ”hopefully we have a long way to go.”

STATWATCH: Fleury stopped 127 of 130 shots in the first round, a save percentage of .977. His career playoff save percentage is .910. He had two shutouts while allowing three goals in 275 minutes against the Kings.

While Fleury doesn’t get consumed with stats, there is one that matters to him.

”Wins,” he said. ”I’m not out there to prove anything, I just want to win games. If I can help the team get wins, that’s all that matters. If I win and the team wins, everybody’s happy, the coaches, the fans, and at the end of the day that’s why you play.”

The last time Fleury led his team to a first-round sweep was in 2009 Jamaal Williams Jersey , when the Penguins won the Stanley Cup – the first of three in his career.

BIGGEST MOMENT: Any one of the three times Fleury hoisted the Stanley Cup was a big moment during his career. But not the biggest, according to him.

”My first game was pretty big, because that’s always been my dream to play in the NHL,” said Fleury, who allowed two goals and stopped 46 shots in a 3-0 loss to the Kings in his NHL debut on Oct. 10, 2003. ”I never thought I would make it. But the first time I could play and made some saves in a game, I thought that was so cool.”

Fleury didn’t say where a Stanley Cup with Vegas would rank, keeping his focus on San Jose.

WHAT TO WATCH FOR: During an interview on NHL Network, former teammate Ryan Whitney asked the prankster goalie if he had moved on from Olive Garden, which Fleury laughingly said fit his budget back then. Nowadays, Fleury’s pregame meals are catered to his liking by the chefs at City National Arena, the team’s headquarters.

”On game day I always eat the same stuff. I just go with noodles, oil and chicken Jacquizz Rodgers Jersey , a little vegetable, a side salad,” said Fleury, who said he cherishes the vibe on game day, including the drive to T-Mobile Arena.



New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees has filed a lawsuit accusing a California businessman of cheating him out of $9 million through jewelry purchases.

Area media report that Brees and his wife filed suit Monday in California against Vahid Moradi, who operates CJ Charles Jewelers in San Diego.

Brees claims multiple pieces of jewelry he purchased as investments over time appraised for $9 million less than he paid for the pieces. The items include a blue-diamond ring that cost about $8.2 million.

The suit claims Brees confronted Moradi and the dealer admitted to charging a substantial markup. The suit says the two were close friends.

An attorney for Moradi says Brees attempted to "bully" the man after items didn't increase in value the way the player had hoped they would.

"He should restrict his game-playing to the football field," attorney Eric George said. "And refrain from bullying honest, hard-working businessmen like my client."


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The Texans will get third-round pick Martinas Rankin on the practice field for the first time in training camp.

Rankin opened up camp on the physically unable to perform list due to a foot injury he sustained at the team’s rookie minicamp. Rankin missed the rest of the offseason program after having surgery on his foot.

Rankin spent time at a variety of spots along the offensive line during his time at Mississippi State and closed out his career at left tackle.

Julie'n Davenport and Seantrel Henderson have been working as the starting tackles for the Texans during the preseason. Rankins’ injury may not leave him enough time to change that before the start of the season Lee Smith Jersey , but getting the green light to start practicing may open the door for a shift at some point in his rookie year.

Noah Syndergaard was back on the mound for the New York Mets and made it clear he wants to stay.

With his name bandied about in trade talk ahead of the July 31 deadline, Syndergaard pitched out of trouble during a rusty return from the disabled list and helped himself with an RBI single as New York beat the Washington Nationals 4-2 on Friday night.

”If they wanted to trade me tomorrow, I really have no say in what they do,” Syndergaard said. ”I can’t say it enough – love my time being a New York Met. I love the city, I love embracing it, I think they’ve embraced me.

”I said last year I wanted to be a Met my entire career. But like I said, that’s outside of my control.”

Amed Rosario tripled and doubled, both times over Bryce Harper’s head in center field, and the Mets won for only the sixth time in their last 26 home games. Brandon Nimmo had three hits for New York Duane Brown Jersey , which built a three-run cushion in the first inning against struggling starter Tanner Roark.

Matt Adams homered for the inconsistent Nationals, who went 1 for 12 with runners in scoring position and fell back to .500 at 47-47.

After missing seven weeks with a strained ligament in his right index finger, Syndergaard (5-1) came out firing 99 mph fastballs. But he gave up seven hits in five innings and never retired the leadoff batter.

Still, the 2016 All-Star held the Nationals to one run while striking out three and walking two.

”I thought he was really good,” Mets manager Mickey Callaway said. ”He did a tremendous job.”

Wilmer Difo made things easier on New York by running into the first out of the third inning at third base. Syndergaard then retired Anthony Rendon and struck out Harper with two on to limit damage.

”I felt pretty good,” Syndergaard said. ”A step in the right direction. It’s encouraging. I came out of it healthy and that’s all that matters.”

Difo had doubled to drive in Roark, who opened the inning with the first triple by a Washington pitcher since Joel Hanrahan in 2007.

Syndergaard also got Harper to ground into an inning-ending double play with two aboard in the fifth. Perhaps frustrated after hitting the ball hard right to Rosario at shortstop, Harper didn’t hustle down the line.

”That’s a conversation that Bryce and I will have tomorrow. Yeah, he didn’t run that ball out the way I want him to P. J. Williams Jersey ,” Nationals manager Dave Martinez said. ”Look, I’ve got no beef with Bryce. I mean, Bryce comes every day to play.”

Syndergaard, making his first major league start since May 25, was pulled after 75 pitches. The right-hander threw 71 in a rehab outing Sunday for Class A Brooklyn.

”It felt great getting back out there today in a competition setting and on a big league mound,” he said. ”It’s a funny thing with fingers. Kind of need those, pretty important to pitch. I’m just happy to be back out there and healthy.”

Seth Lugo overcame a wild start to his relief outing and worked two hitless innings. Robert Gsellman gave up Adams’ second-deck shot in the eighth but got six outs for his fourth save.

Roark (3-12) settled in after a rough start but allowed four runs and eight hits in five innings. He and Baltimore right-hander Alex Cobb are tied for the most losses in the majors.

Roark has lost his last five starts and is 0-6 since beating Tampa Bay on June 6. Washington has dropped his past seven starts and nine of the last 10.

”Keep going, keep plugging away, keep fighting and scratching – whatever it takes Trevor Williams Jersey ,” said Roark, who gave up singles to his first three batters. ”We battled today. Tough loss.”

Jose Bautista and Devin Mesoraco each had an RBI single in the first, sandwiched around Wilmer Flores‘ sacrifice fly. Rosario tripled off the center-field wall to open the second and scored when a smiling Syndergaard lined a single to right field.

”I think I surprised myself a little bit,” Syndergaard said.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Nationals: RHP Koda Glover is scheduled to pitch Saturday for Class A Potomac after his rehab assignment was moved up from the rookie-level Gulf Coast League. The reliever has been sidelined all season by right shoulder tendinitis and will probably require eight or nine appearances before he’s ready to come off the disabled list, Martinez said.

Mets: OF Yoenis Cespedes (right hip flexor) ran the bases at the team’s complex in Florida and was scheduled to do so again Friday, according to Callaway. ”He came out of it really good. He feels good and is progressing,” Callaway said. Cespedes has been out since mid-May. … LHP Jason Vargas (strained right calf) is set to make another rehab start for Brooklyn on Saturday.

ROSTER MOVE

To open a spot for Syndergaard, the Mets optioned LHP P.J. Conlon to Triple-A Las Vegas.

UP NEXT

Nationals RHP Austin Voth makes his major league debut Saturday against Zack Wheeler (2-6, 4.42 ERA) and the Mets. The 26-year-old Voth Malcom Brown Jersey , a fifth-round draft pick in 2013 out of Washington, was 4-5 with a 3.55 ERA at Triple-A Syracuse. Wheeler, pitching in some poor luck, is 0-5 over 13 outings since his last win April 29 at San Diego. That’s the longest stretch without a win for a Mets starter since 1998. The right-hander is 2-8 in 11 career starts against Washington, including 0-6 with a 5.71 ERA in six games at home.



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NEW YORK — Greg Bird was rehabbing a right ankle injury for the first six meetings between the Boston Red Sox and the New York Yankees.

He carried a .191 average and several frustrating at-bats into Friday’s series opener. Then he slugged two homers and possibly gave the Yankees something to think about with the first baseman’s playing time against left-handers Chris Sale and David Price and the final two games.

While Bird could get the game off Lee Roy Selmon Jersey , his New York temmates will get a crack at solving Sale on Saturday night in the second game of three-game series against Boston at Yankee Stadium.

Bird posted his second career multi-homer game and the Yankees opened the series by hitting four homers in an 8-1 rout on Friday. After homering twice, Bird is batting 204 (19-for-93) in 29 games since coming off the disabled list.

“Perhaps, I think about that a little bit,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said. “It was really good to see Birdie impact the ball. I was happy for him and that’s something that can kind of jump-start him a little bit because what we believe he brings is that left-handed on-base, power guy in this ballpark.”

If Bird is in the lineup, he will be getting his first career at-bats against Sale. If Bird is not in the lineup, it could be Brandon Drury or Neil Walker at first base.

Regardless if Bird plays, the Yankees were glad to see him homer to left-center field and right-center field against Eduardo Rodriguez in the fifth and Justin Haley in the eighth.

“It’s only a matter of time,” Yankees right-fielder Aaron Judge said of Bird. “It takes a lot of time to kind of get in that groove.”

Sale is 7-4 with a 2.56 ERA this season but rolling of late.

He is 2-0 with a 1.35 ERA in his last three starts and in the last four starts has totaled 43 strikeouts in 28 innings while allowing a paltry .155 average.

Sale last pitched Sunday when he allowed four hits and struck out 13 in a 5-0 win over the Seattle Mariners. Sale posted his second straight double-digit strikeout game, sixth this season and ended the outing by fanning Mike Zunino with a 100.5 mph fastball — the fastest pitch of his career.

This season as the Red Sox attempt to keep Sale fresh for the final months of the year, his velocity is steadily increasing. His average fastball was 92.5 in April Clay Matthews Jersey , 95.6 in May and 97.0 this month.

“I think it’s just getting back into a little bit better rhythm,” Sale said of his increase in velocity. “I’ve been saying the same thing over the last three or four starts — it’s feeling good and getting into that tempo and getting back into a little bit better rhythm than I had been starting the year. I put a lot of work into it. I’m glad where we’re at.”

If Sale posts double-digit strikeouts Saturday, it will mark the fourth time he has at least 10 strikeouts in three straight games.

“A lot of people get caught up on strikeouts,” Sale said. “They’re nice, but at the end of the day your job is to pitch as deep into that game as you can and keep as few runs off the board (as possible).”

Sale enters the game with 153 strikeouts, two ahead of Houston’s Gerrit Cole for the league lead. He also is hoping to see his teammates produce a better offensive showing after losing for the second time in eight games.

The left-hander faced the Yankees on April 10 in a 14-1 win at Fenway Park. He is 5-4 with a 1.73 ERA in 16 appearances (13 starts) against the Yankees.

While Mookie Betts was 2-for-4 and had his 25th multi-hit game, J.D. Martinez was 0-for-4 and is now hitless in his last nine at-bats.

New York will counter with Sonny Gray, who is 5-5 with a 4.93 ERA.

Gray is 2-1 with a 3.23 ERA in his last five starts since lasting 3 2/3 innings in an 11-4 loss to the Los Angeles Angels on May 26. His last outing was last Saturday in Tampa Bay when he allowed four runs and six hits in 6 2/3 innings of a 4-0 loss.

Gray faced the Red Sox on April 12 in Boston when he allowed six runs and seven hits in a season-low three innings of a 6-3 loss. Since joining the Yankees, he is 0-3 with a 7.20 ERA in three starts against the Red Sox. For his career, Gray is 1-5 with a 5.97 ERA in seven games against Boston.

The question just keeps coming, and Malcolm Butler still has the same answer.

No Ronnie Lott Jersey , the two-time Pro Bowl cornerback does not know why Patriots coach Bill Belichick benched him at the Super Bowl in February .

Butler said Sunday he never got an explanation for being benched in the Super Bowl after starting 15 games during the regular season and two playoff games. He came off the bench to seal New England’s Super Bowl victory in 2015 with an interception as a rookie, and he started the Patriots’ overtime win over Atlanta for a second Super Bowl ring a year ago.

”Coach’s decision,” Butler said.

For his part, Belichick has never really explained why Butler was benched either . Belichick dodged questions again when the Patriots opened training camp this week, focusing only on this season.

Butler didn’t hang around either. He left the Patriots in March, signing a five-year deal with more than $30 million guaranteed with the Tennessee Titans. The move allowed Butler to rejoin former New England cornerback Logan Ryan, who signed with Tennessee in March 2017. The memory of being benched is driving Butler with his new team.

”I’m on fire I can tell you that,” Butler said. ”But I’m past that. I’m a Tennessee Titan, and I’m just ready to ball for the Titans.”

When the Titans visited with Butler in free agency, new head coach Mike Vrabel told the cornerback to keep approaching his job every day like the undrafted rookie he once was.

”He’s close to doing that all the time,” Vrabel said. ”There’s a time or two that he takes a play off Brian Poole Jersey , and I’ve got to remind him, but he is just a competitive player, and I admire that about him. He fights to finish.”

Watching Butler through the first four days of training camp, it’s safe to say the man who watched the Patriots lose the Super Bowl from the sideline may be even more motivated with his newest team. Butler chased down wide receiver Corey Davis after being beaten to punch the ball loose at the 2-yard line.

Butler set the tone not only for himself but the rest of the team on the opening day of camp during 1-on-1 drills against wide receivers. Butler went up against Davis, the fifth overall pick in 2017 and the first receiver selected in that draft, and intercepted Marcus Mariota’s pass. Butler then punted the ball in the air , yelling he was showing everyone how he would earn his money.

That interception followed by the punt didn’t come at the spur of the moment either.

”I think I planned that the day I signed my contract,” Butler said. ”So just a little fired up. Get everybody going, show my attitude, my intensity, what I bring and wasn’t disrespect to the offense or anything like that. I’m just being me.”

Butler has nine career interceptions with 56 passes defended while with New England. He joins a Titans defense that ranked 22nd in the NFL last season with 12 interceptions – eight by All-Pro safety Kevin Byard. Both Ryan and Adoree Jackson Michael Crabtree Jersey , who started every game last season as a rookie, are going into their second seasons.

The Titans host the Patriots on Nov. 11, giving Butler a chance to face his old team and coach this season.

For now, the cornerback who played at West Alabama has been very visible every day at camp whether he’s pulling in interceptions or knocking balls out to break up catches. Butler said actions speak louder than words.

”Just like I tell the young guys, a play a day (will) keep the coach away,” Butler said.

Notes: Vrabel said LB Brian Orakpo, who left practice after banging his shoulder against TE Luke Stocker on Friday, likely will be out a week. Vrabel had no update on rookie LB Rashaan Evans, the No. 22 pick overall, who left early Saturday. Davis was given the day off for rest.



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Russ Brandon Phil McConkey Jersey , the president of the Buffalo Bills, the Buffalo Sabres, and Pegula Sports and Entertainment, has resigned. Bills and Sabres owners Terry and Kim Pegula announced the development on Tuesday.

Via Tim Graham of the Buffalo News, the move comes after an internal investigation regarding Brandon’s workplace behavior and allegations of personal misconduct.

Brandon worked for the Yankees and thereafter the then-Florida Marlins before joining the Bills in 1997. He essentially ran the team in the final years of founder Ralph Wilson’s life, and Brandon steered the franchise through the search for a new owner. The Pegulas were sufficiently impressed to keep him around — and to expand his influence into their hockey operation.

Some have suggested that Brandon won’t be out of work for long. However, the internal investigation and what it uncovered complicates his future prospects.

The Minnesota Vikings picked offensive tackle Brian O'Neill from Pittsburgh in the second round of the NFL draft Friday night, adding a mobile yet raw player to help with the critical task of protecting prize offseason acquisition Kirk Cousins.

"I know if I can get the coaches this type of athlete, they can develop those guys," said Vikings general manager Rick Spielman, who used the 62nd overall selection on the 6-foot-6 Obi Melifonwu Jersey , 305-pound O'Neill before trading the team's third-round pick, No. 94, to net an extra selection for Saturday.

O'Neill played left tackle for the Panthers as a junior in 2017 and was a first team All-ACC honoree. He spent the previous two seasons at right tackle after joining the program as a tight end. O'Neill ran the 40-yard dash in 4.82 seconds at the combine, the fastest time by an offensive lineman.

"You watch this guy get out and pull, and it's unbelievable how fast he moves," Vikings director of college scouting Jamaal Stephenson said.

If the Vikings feel confident enough that O'Neill is ready to start, he could take over at right tackle with Mike Remmers making a permanent move to one of the guard spots. Remmers was signed last year as a tackle, but injuries prompted him to shift inside late in the season and in the playoffs. O'Neill left college a year early, though, so the Vikings have essentially taken on the task of continuing to develop him.

"He's got to get stronger. That's one of his weaknesses at this point, but we feel we can easily get that corrected Devonta Freeman Jersey ," Stephenson said.

If Remmers stays at tackle for now, Danny Isidora, a fifth-round draft pick last year, will become a strong candidate to start at right guard in the retired Joe Berger's place. Nick Easton started at left guard for most of last season before breaking his ankle.

O'Neill was a high school basketball star in Wilmington, Delaware. His father, Brendan O'Neill, played running back at Dartmouth. His mother, Elizabeth O'Neill, was a swimmer at Northeastern.

"I think I'm able to handle speed off the edge very well," O'Neill said. "I think that's something that's one of my strong suits, being able to protect the edge. Obviously with the new quarterback in town Trevor Siemian Jersey , Kirk Cousins, that's a big deal. Protecting him is my most important job now, and it's a job I take very seriously."

The run on interior linemen accelerated from the first day of the NFL draft, with three guards going in the first five picks of the second round. The Browns led off with Nevada guard Austin Corbett, the Giants took UTEP guard Will Hernandez and the Colts grabbed Auburn guard Braden Smith. The Bears went with Iowa center James Daniels, who could play guard, with the seventh pick of the night, 39th overall. Another guard was taken off the board when the Cowboys picked Texas guard Connor Williams at No. 50 overall.

"I've never seen that many offensive guards go this high in the draft," Stephenson said.

The last time the Vikings took an offensive lineman in the first three rounds in consecutive years was 2005 and 2006, when they took Marcus Johnson from Mississippi and Ryan Cook from New Mexico in the second round of those drafts. The Vikings drafted center Pat Elflein out of Ohio State in the third round last year.

Like cornerback, where the Vikings looked in the first round for Central Florida's Mike Hughes Chandler Catanzaro Jersey , a team can never have enough quality offensive linemen. The dearth of them has been their biggest downfall in recent seasons, a deficiency badly exposed in the 38-7 loss at Philadelphia in the NFC championship game.

Hughes found some off-the-field trouble as a freshman at North Carolina in 2015 with his home-state school, which led to a nomadic college career with a stop at Garden City Community College in Kansas before landing at UCF once fall camp had already begun. He quickly integrated himself with the team and picked up the defense, making a strong impression on head coach Scott Frost.

"I think he's the type of player that's going to thrive up there," Frost said on a conference call with Minnesota reporters. "Mike's not just a cover corner, he's a guy that will come up and hit. He'll really embrace being around a bunch of other guys that play with that kind of attitude."

He's only 5-foot-10, but this high school quarterback has used his physical size as a psychological advantage.

"I don't want to get the ball caught on me," Hughes said. "I hate having the ball caught on me, even in practice. I just like competing."

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Ask Leighton Vander Esch about his improbable path from eight-man high school football to first-round pick of the Dallas Cowboys Willie Roaf Jersey , and the rookie linebacker is quick with a retort of never being fazed by brighter lights or bigger cities.

Ask the former Boise State walk-on what he does to relax, and Vander Esch stares silently as his smile grows.

"Uh," he said Friday, the first day of rookie minicamp. "I don't even know."

Maybe that helps explain his rise to Mountain West Conference defensive player of the year and his showing at the combine and other workouts that stood out to new Dallas linebackers coach Ben Bloom. The Cowboys drafted Vander Esch 19th overall two weeks ago.

"It's kind of hard for me to relax, honestly," said Vander Esch, who signed an $11.8 million, four-year deal later Friday. "At this point Tavon Young Jersey , expectations are so high there's no time to relax. There's no days off. You've just got to keep trucking away."

Linebacker was one of the primary needs for Dallas going into the draft because of Sean Lee's history of injuries, Jaylon Smith's continuing recovery from a serious college knee injury and Anthony Hitchens' departure in free agency.

The Cowboys hadn't drafted a linebacker in the first round since Bobby Carpenter 12 years ago in almost the same spot (18th). Carpenter didn't get a second contract, leaving Dallas after four years in a career that ended after seven seasons. He never had more than 37 tackles.

Defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli is already talking rotation with Lee, Smith and Vander Esch for two spots. If Lee stays healthy, that's more likely to mean shared time between Vander Esch and Smith, a second-round pick in 2016.

Smith didn't play as a rookie while recovering from the devastating injury during his final game at Notre Dame and was inconsistent last season, particularly early in the year when he was playing more than expected after Hitchens injured a knee in the preseason.

"We're going to play the best guys," Bloom said. "Everybody linebacker in the room has the ability to play at least two positions. We'll get the best guys on the field and they'll be asked to have multiple positions."

Lee's best fit is weakside linebacker Joe Montana Jersey , but he's missed at least one game because of injury in seven of his eight seasons. The only exception was his All-Pro year in 2016.

Vander Esch considers himself a middle linebacker and flatly denied a report from before the draft that a neck injury sustained at Boise had prompted some NFL teams to downgrade him on draft boards. Regardless, the Cowboys weren't one of those teams.

Owner and general manager Jerry Jones likes to compare Vander Esch to Rolando McClain, a first-round flameout in Oakland who had the best year of his career in 2014 in helping the Cowboys to just their second playoff win since their last Super Bowl title following the 1995 season.

Size would be a good place to start with that connection. McClain was 6-foot-4, same as Vander Esch, with an almost identical listed weight. The rookie is listed at 256.

"There's always pressure to perform," Vander Esch said. "Obviously this is the biggest level now so there's even more of it. You've just got to relax yourself and go out and do what you do."

After helping Salmon River High School in Riggins, Idaho, to a pair of state titles Marcus Allen Jersey , Vander Esch walked on at Boise, about 150 miles south of his hometown. After a redshirt year, he progressed fast enough to bypass his senior season and enter the draft.

"You've got to be able to adapt quick no matter what," Vander Esch said. "You've got to able to take on anything and not worry about it, not stress yourself out, not get all flustered with it."

With his focus so much on football, Vander Esch didn't mind getting flustered over a question about what he does for fun.

NOTES: DT Maliek Collins is likely out until training camp after breaking a bone in his left foot Thursday during offseason workouts at the team's practice facility. He is expected to have his second surgery on that foot since January. The first procedure was for a stress reaction that bothered him last season, although he didn't miss any games. ... WR Terrance Williams Marshal Yanda Jersey , who broke a bone in his right foot in January, has been working on the side with trainers. Coach Jason Garrett said his recovery is on schedule, which likely means a return at training camp.

Police say several items have been returned after they were stolen from Chicago Bears first-round draft pick Roquan Smith’s car in Georgia, but not his Bears-issued iPad.

Athens-Clarke County Police public information officer Epifanio Rodriguez tells the Chicago Tribune a fingerprint found in the linebacker’s car identified the suspect and detectives recovered some of the property, but not the iPad.

The Bears said Monday that they remotely wiped the password-protected tablet.

Rodriguez says Smith was ”ecstatic” when detectives notified him. Rodriguez says authorities expect to obtain arrest warrants soon and charges will be filed in the case.

Smith called police Saturday to report the thefts, including his Georgia helmet and Georgia Bulldogs jerseys.



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Thema: faced the A’s three times in his career, twi
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faced the A’s three times in his career, twi 13.09.2018 09:47 Forum: Werbung


DeMarcus Lawrence enjoys needling pass-rushing understudy Taco Charlton Chris Jones Jersey , who spent plenty of time in the offseason working out with the man who tied for second in sacks in the NFL last year for the Dallas Cowboys.

"He's aggravating," Lawrence said, trying not to show that he was joking. "I go places in Dallas thinking I'm by myself and two seconds later, I see Taco walk in. Why is he always following me?"

Maybe it's because Lawrence is coming off his best season at 14 1/2 sacks while Charlton is trying to deliver on first-round expectations in his second year.

Add Randy Gregory working to get his career back on track after a year away from the NFL on a substance-abuse suspension, and these recent high draft picks by the Cowboys, all defensive ends, offer an interesting trio of story lines going into 2018.

"Encore?" said Lawrence, who tied Jacksonville's Calais Campbell for second, 2 1/2 sacks behind Arizona's Chandler Jones. "You've just got to stay tuned. We're going to put on a big show this year."

Gregory was activated from the non-football injury list Wednesday following a yearlong suspension over multiple violations of the league's substance-abuse policy.

Coach Jason Garrett says the club did it to allow Gregory to be more active in morning walkthroughs at training camp in California. The Cowboys aren't in any hurry to have him participate in a full padded practice.

"He's been away from football for a long time," Garrett said. "He did a good job of keeping himself in shape. But again, we don't want to compromise him early on here and put him a couple of weeks behind where he should be, so we're going to progress deliberately here."

As for Lawrence and Charlton, it's full-speed ahead. Here's an overview of all three players a week into camp:

LAWRENCE'S MOTIVATION

The Cowboys put the franchise tag on Lawrence at the end of his four-year rookie deal, and there weren't any contract discussions of substance before the deadline to sign a long-term deal expired.

Lawrence, who gets $17.1 million guaranteed this season John Hannah Jersey , was the first pass rusher drafted by the Cowboys after they released franchise sacks leader DeMarcus Ware in 2014. Dallas traded up to early in the second round to get him.

He didn't get his first sack until his second season and had just nine through three years before a quick start in 2017 led to his breakthrough. Now the 26-year-old is playing for a big payday.

"As a kid, they tell you the sky's the limit. They lyin' to you," Lawrence said. "You set your own limits. That's why I said, 'Secure the bag,' because I'm going out there each and every day and showing my son and showing my family I set my own limits."

CHARLTON'S MODEL

The former Michigan player is actually three sacks ahead of Lawrence's pace. Charlton had three as a rookie after the Cowboys took him late in the first round. If nothing else, he knows patience is part of the formula.

The 23-year-old Charlton's debut in the NFL was Lawrence's first season without an injury or season-opening suspension, which Lawrence served in 2016.

"I talk trash, like, he didn't do nothing," Charlton said. "That's kind of how we wing it, 'Ah, you didn't do nothing. Ah, you did this, I'm going to go faster.' It pushes us to go to that next level. Him doing what he did last year pushed me to try to do that same thing."

Charlton seems much more at ease, speaking freely and frequently with reporters during camp.

"The comfortability level is probably the biggest thing Ronde Barber Jersey ," he said. "There's not so much where I'm wide-eyed seeing what's going on. I roll out here like I belong and I can do whatever I need to do to progress."

GREGORY'S LONG ROAD

The former Nebraska standout has been suspended for 30 of the past 32 regular-season games for multiple violations of the substance-abuse policy.

Gregory was considered a first-round talent when he slid to near the end of the second round of the 2015 draft over off-field concerns that included a positive test for marijuana at the combine.

While he was cleared to return by Commissioner Roger Goodell not long before training camp, Gregory hasn't spoken to reporters. Garrett hesitated to indicate when Gregory might practice for the first time.

"You have brothers falling the wrong way, do you give up on them? No," Lawrence said. "We say togetherness, we say family for a reason. Randy's my brother. We stuck by him for this long time and it's time for him to ball now."

Defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli, also the defensive line coach, said it's a first for him to have a player back after not seeing him for a year and a half.

"Each night we have a chance in our meetings, we visit," Marinelli said. "He knows the progression that he's got to go through. He's not going to walk out there and it's going to happen. As talented as he is, it doesn't work that way. And he knows that."

OAKLAND, Calif. — Two teams that began heading in opposite directions at just about the time they saw each other last month hook up again when the San Diego Padres and Oakland Athletics open a two-game interleague series Tuesday night.

The Padres were within arm’s length of .500 at 34-40, having won nine of 15, when the A’s ventured into San Diego and used a ninth-inning, two-out, two-strike Arden Key Jersey , game-tying home run from Stephen Piscotty off relief ace Brad Hand to trigger a two-game sweep, winning 4-2 and 12-4.

The Padres now head north well out of contention in the National League West, having lost 11 of 14.

The A’s, meanwhile, have won 12 of 15 to surge well above .500 at 46-39 and into contention in the American League wild-card race.

Oakland has made much of its recent run without standout third baseman Matt Chapman, who has taken time off to allow pain in his right hand to subside.

Two cortisone shots later, Chapman had a pain-free hitting session Sunday and was sent to Class A for an injury-rehab game Monday.

It’s possible he could be reinstated from the disabled list during this series.

“He hit a few off the back wall in center field, so that tells me enough,” A’s manager Bob Melvin observed Sunday. “Getting him back in the lineup will be a nice little kick for us.”

The A’s need no such boost in their pitching. They have allowed two or fewer runs in four of their last five games.

Right-hander Chris Bassitt (1-3, 2.82 ERA) will look to extend that impressive run while at the same time taste his first career success in interleague play.

The 29-year-old began the A’s recent pitching showcase with six innings of two-hit, scoreless ball in a 3-0 win at Detroit last Wednesday.

He has never faced the Padres in his career, and has lost both interleague starts despite a 2.45 ERA.

One intriguing potential matchup in the series is A’s closer Blake Treinen against Padres slugger Eric Hosmer, a pairing that carried a bit of history into a game-ending showdown in the A’s earlier 4-2 win in San Diego.

Then a member of the Kansas City Royals, Hosmer bombed a two-run, go-ahead homer off Treinen in the eighth inning of their first career head-to-head last August.

Treinen then extracted a measure of revenge in the June 19 rematch in San Diego Robbie Gould Jersey , closing out the 10-inning game by striking out Hosmer as he represented the potential tying run.

Bassitt will be opposed by left-hander Clayton Richard (7-7, 4.29), who had a four-game winning streak stopped in a 5-2 loss at Texas last Wednesday.

He retains a good interleague record (9-5, 3.50) despite not having beaten an American League opponent since 2015.

You have to go back three years before that to find his last appearance against the A’s in Oakland, but it was a memorable one. He shut out a playoff-bound A’s team for 7 2/3 innings in 2012, allowing five hits in a 2-1 win.

He has faced the A’s three times in his career, twice as a starter, and gone 1-1 with a 3.21 ERA.

One A’s hitter that Richard will have to deal with is the aforementioned Piscotty, who played last season for the St. Louis Cardinals.

Piscotty has dominated the head-to-heads, going 3-for-4 with a home run and a flyout to deep center field in the only non-hit of the matchup.

A’s catcher Jonathan Lucroy, another former National Leaguer, also has a successful history against Richard, going 7-for-18 (.389) with two doubles and a homer.

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SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS (6-10)

UNRESTRICTED FREE AGENTS: RB Carlos Hyde; Ss Eric Reid and Antone Exum Jim Kelly Jersey , DE Aaron Lynch; DLs Chris Jones, Tank Carradine and Leger Douzable; LB Brock Coyle; G Brandon Fusco; CBs Leon Hall, Dontae Johnson, and Asa Jackson; WR Louis Murphy; TE Logan Paulsen; C Tim Barnes.

RESTRICTED FREE AGENTS: None.

NEEDS: 49ers answered biggest question last month when they signed quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo to $137.5 million contract after he led them to five straight wins following midseason trade with New England. Then San Francisco got a head start on free agency by signing former nemesis Richard Sherman to upgrade at cornerback following his release from Seattle. The task this spring will be to get Garoppolo help and improve the pass rush on defense. San Francisco could use big target at either receiver or tight end to help in red zone, as well as improvement on interior of offensive line. Biggest question on offense comes at running back where San Francisco must decide whether to try to re-sign Hyde or look for someone else as lead back.

AVAILABLE SALARY CAP SPACE (approximately): $64 million.

– The Latest on the NBA Awards Justin Ellis Jersey , where the league’s individual honors are being presented (all times local):

6:30 p.m.

Rudy Gobert of the Utah Jazz is the NBA’s Defensive Player of the Year.

The center was the leading vote-getter for the league’s All-Defensive first team.

Gobert anchored a Jazz defense that ranked second in the NBA in defensive rating.

He beat out Anthony Davis of New Orleans and Joel Embiid of Philadelphia.



6:20 p.m.

Victor Oladipo of the Indiana Pacers has won the Most Improved Player at the NBA Awards.

The guard averaged 23.1 points in his first season with the Pacers. He earned his first All-Star berth, too.

Oladipo also led the league in steals for the first time.

He beat out Clint Capela of Houston and Spencer Dinwiddie of the Brooklyn Nets.



6:15 p.m.

Ben Simmons of the Philadelphia 76ers has won Rookie of the Year honors at the NBA Awards.

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.



6 p.m.

The NBA Awards aren’t just about the hardware. Everyone gets fed Duke Dawson Jersey , too.

Players and their guests are sitting down to dinner at the second annual show. On the menu is salad with avocados, grapefruit and green goddess dressing, and a main course of wild seabass with rice and steak.

Dessert is a vanilla cream puff, chocolate peanut butter cupcakes and pavlova with lemon curd and blueberry.



5:55 p.m.

Jeanie Buss says she has complete faith in the Los Angeles Lakers‘ front office no matter how Magic Johnson and general manager Rob Pelinka want to build the team, whether it’s through trades Montravius Adams Jersey , free agency or the draft.

Buss says she asked them a year ago to identify a style of play for the team and make decisions that reflect that style. She describes the Lakers’ style as fast and says it’s about passing and sharing the ball while committing to each other as a team.

Buss is the team’s controlling owner and president. Johnson is the team’s president of basketball operations.



5:45 p.m.

Baron Davis has arrived at the NBA Awards on a foldable electric scooter.

Davis lives near Santa Monica Airport, so he rode the small scooter onto the red carpet outside Barker Hangar.

The urban mobility device has a maximum range of 16 miles and a top speed of 14 mph, which is about how fast traffic sometimes moves in Los Angeles. It costs about $900.



4:07 p.m.

James Harden is hoping to win his first NBA MVP award in what could be another big night for the Houston Rockets.

Harden, Cleveland’s LeBron James and New Orleans’ Anthony Davis are the three MVP finalists. That and the league’s other individual awards will be presented Monday night at the NBA Awards show.

Harden was the league’s top scorer on a Rockets team that had the NBA’s best record, giving him a strong chance to finally capture the MVP award after finishing as the runner-up twice.

The Rockets walked away with Coach of the Year for Mike D’Antoni and Sixth Man of the Year for Eric Gordon last year at the inaugural NBA Awards. Gordon has a chance to repeat Jake Matthews Jersey , while center Clint Capela is one of three finalists for Most Improved Player.



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The Broncos placed quarterback Paxton Lynch on waivers Sunday when they claimed Kevin Hogan and he became a free agent on Monday.

According to multiple reports DeForest Buckner Jersey , none of the league’s other 31 teams claimed Lynch. That does not come as a major surprise as any claiming team would be on the hook for the remaining guaranteed money on Lynch’s contract.

Those reports also indicate that Lynch will begin working out for other teams with Nicki Jhabvala of The Athletic reporting that four teams have reached out since Lynch was dumped by the team that took him in the first round of the 2016 draft.

None of those teams have been identified, but it likely won’t be long before that comes to light now that Lynch is officially on the open market.

The Oakland Raiders have officially signed free agent linebacker Derrick Johnson to a one-year contract.

Coach Jon Gruden had said last week the sides agreed to terms and the contract became official on Monday. Oakland waived defensive back Darius Hillary to make room on the roster.

The Raiders also signed three players following tryouts at rookie minicamp over the weekend. Oakland gave deals to former Texas running back Chris Warren Tyreek Hill Jersey , Michigan fullback Henry Poggi and tight end Paul Butler from California of Pennsylvania.

Oakland cut running back Elijah Hood, defensive lineman Joby Saint Fleur and fullback Nick Sharga. Hood was a seventh-round pick last year and played one game as a rookie.

The 35-year-old Johnson spent his first 13 NFL seasons with the rival Kansas City Chiefs and will likely fill the role at middle linebacker that NaVorro Bowman played the second half of last season.

Johnson is a four-time Pro Bowler and the career tackles leader for the Chiefs. He appeared in 182 games with 169 starts since being drafted in the first round in 2005. He has 1 Adam Butler Jersey ,262 tackles, 27F sacks and 14 interceptions in his career.

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