Monthly Archives: June 2018

Gronkowski comes in second at the Belmont

Rob Gronkowski’s team came in second at the Super Bowl, and his horse came in second at the Belmont Stakes.

Gronkowski, a horse named for and partially owned by the Patriots tight end, turned in a tremendous race today. A 24-1 underdog who was in last place in the early going, Gronkowski surged ahead and finished a strong second.

Unless they can shock the depleted Celtics in the first round, the Bucks’ season will not be considered a success. They fired Jason Kidd earlier in the season and didn’t take the next step in their evolution. With cap issues this summer and an important decision to make on Parker’s future, the Bucks have a lot more questions than answers.

Despite sitting out two months with a knee injury, Wall looked sharp in his first game back, putting up 15 points and 14 assists. After the game, Wizards coach Scott Brooks said of Wall, That Ferrari is pretty good. That same night, Porter Jr. finished with 26 points and 11 rebounds, while Beal had 22 points with six 3-pointers. It was a reminder of Washington’s potential when all of its weapons are available.

Exum joined the Niners last November and made three tackles in two appearances, including one start on defense, for the team. He entered the NFL as a 2014 sixth-round pick of the Vikings and played in 27 games over his first two seasons before spending all of 2016 on injured reserve.

The 49ers signed cornerback Richard Sherman and drafted three defensive backs this offseason, so Exum will have some introductions to make even with his familiarity with defensive coordinator Robert Saleh’s system.

Nurkic’s ability to defend Davis will be huge, but Holiday will have to find a way to give Davis some much-needed offensive support and counter Damian Lillard. The Pelicans and Blazers are 2-2 against each other this season, but Lillard went for 41 points, 9 rebounds and 6 assists in a 107-103 Portland win the last time the two teams met on March 27. Holiday was more than up to the task as he finished with a triple-double with 21 points, 11 assists and 11 rebounds in that loss.

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Leonard Floyd will be 100 percent when the Bears open training camp

Bears linebacker Leonard Floyd’s has had more than his share of injuries in his first two seasons, but he’ll be ready to go when training camp starts.

I feel great, Floyd said. I’ve been up here the whole offseason, working hard, trying to get back in shape, trying to get my leg right so I can be ready for the season. I’m ready to get to training camp, put the pads on and see how I do.

Despite being hampered by injuries, Pollock has shown that he can be a five-tool player when healthy. In his one complete season in 2015, Pollock hit 20 homers with 39 stolen bases, while batting.315 and winning a Gold Glove. — Wildstein, ESPN Stats & Information

LeMahieu has been a hit machine the past few seasons, collecting 551 hits from 2015 to 2017, fourth most in MLB. LeMahieu was the 2016 NL batting champ, and has hit.319 over the previous three seasons, third best in baseball. — John McTigue, ESPN Stats & Information

Word was that there was no driving reason for Roethlisberger’s absence and that he was in regular contact with the coaching staff as they worked on installing base concepts for players with less experience than Roethlisberger. On Wednesday, Roethlisberger basically confirmed that was the case while adding that he also had a family vacation planned before the team’s offseason schedule was released.

If coach asked me to be here every day, I would be here every day but they haven’t asked me to do that, Roethlisberger said, via PennLive.com. I’ve worked with [offensive coordinator] Randy Fichtner for eight years now, so it’s not like he’s a new guy coming in that work is necessary. So, we’ve got a lot of same guys back on offense. A lot of the stuff is plays that we’ve been doing before a lot of guys got here, that I’ve been doing a long time.

The Steelers have their final OTA on Thursday and close out the offseason with next week’s mandatory minicamp.

There’ve been questions about fit regarding Carolina’s new offensive staff, behind coordinator Norv Turner and QBs coach Scott Turner, and Cam Newton. I’ll say this: If you’re worried about the Panthers jamming a square peg into a round hole, don’t be. As I understand it, there’s no makeover of Newton going on right now.

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Montas was sharp once again, allowing six hits and holding Kansas City scoreless until Mike Moustakas hit a two-run homer with two outs in the eighth.

It’s very unpredictable, catcher Jonathan Lucroy said. For me behind the plate, I don’t know where it’s going to be at. It’s a good thing, because if I don’t, a hitter definitely doesn’t. He pitches to contact and just attacks. He has a great mentality out there.

Dustin Fowler also homered and Lucroy drove in three runs to help the A’s send the Royals to their sixth straight loss and drop them to a season-worst 22 games under .500.

Muncy, who played a total of 96 games for Oakland in 2015-16, has been subbing at third base for the injured Justin Turner, who has returned from his fractured wrist but still is experiencing soreness.

Forsythe hit a solo homer off Sean Newcomb (7-2) in a three-run third to give the Dodgers the lead. He hadn’t allowed a home run in his previous 44 innings pitched.

Newcomb gave up five runs and seven hits in 5 1/3 innings. It was uncharacteristic to give up the long ball.

I wasn’t making the pitches I was supposed to and I was just kind of leaving them there for them to hit, Newcomb said. It all happened really fast there in the fourth inning, or whenever (third inning) they scored their three runs.

Matt Kemp hit an RBI single against his former team in the Dodgers third.

I know I’m probably not allowed to say this, but he’s probably my favorite player. So to be able to hit some balls out there to him today and to be on the same field as him, it was an honor, really.

Cave, who made his major league debut May 19 and was 1-for-10 at the plate entering Sunday the lone hit cleared the fence also singled and homered.

Chapman has been dealing with left knee tendinitis for about three weeks. The knee was wrapped with ice after he saved a game against the Los Angeles Angels on May 25. He said it probably was the most painful Friday.

But at the end of the day, it didn’t get in the way of me doing my job today, he said through a translator.

A big league-best 41-18, the Yankees have won 32 of their last 41 games and are 23 games over .500 for the first time since the end of the 2012 season.

The Mets have lost seven straight and 12 of 14, and they have dropped nine consecutive home games for the first time since 2012. They are 16-34 following an 11-1 start and have just three runs in their last 51 innings.

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Vikings rookie Hercules Mata’afa tears ACL

Vikings rookie defensive end Hercules Mata’afa tore an anterior cruciate ligament in Wednesday’s organized team activity, Tony Pauline of draftanalyst.com reports.

Mata’afa was injured during a kickoff drill.

Harrison did not run the 40-yard dash at the combine or his pro day because of a hamstring injury. He is such a quality prospect that few are concerned. A former prep quarterback, Harrison is comfortable in a coverage role or run support.

In what is considered a thin draft class overall at the position, Williams projects as a left tackle although some might tinker with moving him to guard. He missed seven games this past season because of a knee injury and sat out the team’s bowl game to prepare for the draft. But his work in 2016 showed vast potential.

The Hokies recently dismissed Alexander for academic reasons. He played three seasons at Virginia Tech, making 125 tackles, 4.5 tackles for a loss, seven interceptions and 17 pass breakups.

The last player selected in the supplemental draft was offensive tackle Isaiah Battle in 2015 when the Rams made him a fifth-round pick.

Proficient college pass-rushers like Chubb usually transition quickly to the NFL. He’s a high-motor player, with the athleticism and savvy to beat one-on-ones as well as double-teams. He had 26 tackles for loss in 2017 despite lots of attention.

Barkley’s work ethic, athleticism and speed are all at an elite level. He also was the pre-draft interview champion. Toss in three 1,000-yard rushing seasons, 102 career receptions and two kickoff return touchdowns and Barkley should immediately lift any offense.

In the NFL, the need for legitimate cover corners nearly matches that for quarterbacks. Ward’s quality footwork, top-shelf speed and confidence make him a rookie starter in waiting. He can play in the slot or outside and understands route concepts.

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Terrance Williams’ attorney: Kendall Wright not involved in wreck

Terrance Williams threw Kendall Wright under his $325,000 Lamborghini early Saturday morning — figuratively — by telling police the Vikings receiver wrecked his car.

But Williams was lying, according to his own attorney.

Chip Lewis, Williams’ attorney, said the Cowboys receiver was in the car alone when it crashed, Brandon George of the Dallas Morning News reports. Williams and Wright were together earlier in the evening but left separately, Lewis said.

Warriors in 5. Cleveland would need a superhuman effort from LeBron, near-flawless defense and red-hot shooting to win a game. Odds are they won’t get more than one.

At this point last year, Jermaine Kearse was still a Seahawk, Jamal Adams was an unproven rookie, Leonard Williams was playing second fiddle to Muhammad Wilkerson, and the Jets were hoping Christian Hackenberg could be their franchise quarterback.

If you asked who the team leaders were, someone might have mentioned Wilkerson, whose reputation disintegrated to the point where the former Pro Bowl defensive end was benched for missing meetings, then released.

The veteran tackle tore his ACL in November, and if they don’t think he’s going to be ready for the start of the regular season, the physically unable to perform list could be a possibility.

Bulaga’s roster spot was considered tenuous at varying points in the offseason, after he refused a pay cut. But the Packers insisted that he was part of the plan.

They also have Jason Spriggs, Kyle Murphy and Adam Pankey as options, but bringing in a guy with Bell’s experience (74 starts), could suggest some concern about Bulaga’s status. Spriggs (dislocated left kneecap) and Murphy (foot surgery) are coming back from significant injuries of their own, though they worked at OTAs.

The Packers created the roster spot for Bell by releasing undrafted rookie lineman Jacob Alsadek.

Randall wouldn’t say if he planned to pay off his promise if the Cavs win.

Randall (right) attends a Pelicans-Trail Blazers playoff game with Saints safety Chris Banjo.NBAE/Getty Images

We’ll talk about this after the series is over, he said.

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Nothing new and no driving reason for Ben Roethlisberger’s absence

Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger made an unexpected headline on Wednesday with the news that, after showing up for the first 2018 OTA session, Roethlisberger has stayed away. So why isn’t he there?

Per a source with knowledge of the situation, there’s no driving reason for the absence. The source added that there’s nothing new about Roethlisberger’s approach to the Organized Team Activities. Roethlisberger works out on his own and he remains in constant contact with the coaching staff, which doesn’t need him for the base installation.

Each play helps build a confidence. Helps build a rapport with the receivers, with the tight ends. Try to get on the same page with the centers, protection calls. It is a lot of new, a lot of chemistry that still has to be built.

Of course, the Vikings paid Cousins a ton of money to build it, so their expectations are going to be high.

I’m taking care of my body a little more, he said. It’s just those little things that’s hopefully going to help me get that edge on my competitor. I’m just trying to do little things the right way at all times.

Ajayi hopes that things play out differently, however. He said he considers himself a workhorse running back and would like to play that role in Philly this season.

Obviously, things have gotten a little shaken up in our room, Ajayi said, via Jeff McLane of Philly.com. I’m excited to get into that lead role, do what’s needed of me and just go bull. It was kind of a year and a half removed from being ‘the guy.’ So I’m excited to kind of get back in that role and showcase again to the world what I can do.

Ajayi is entering the final year of his rookie deal, so a big year as a clear No. 1 could have benefits beyond the field for the running back. Ajayi said he’s not going to let it affect the way I carry out my business and last year suggests the Eagles won’t let their personnel decisions be swayed by much beyond what’s best for the offense at a particular moment either.

Brandon Marshall has finally found a new home, and perhaps even a place to break his curse.

The former Jets and Giants wide receiver, who has never made the playoffs in 12 seasons in the NFL, has signed with the Seahawks, according to his own Instagram page. It is a one-year deal that could be worth up to $2 million, ESPN reported.

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Browns continue front office shakeup

New Browns General Manager John Dorsey brought in plenty of his own guys already. Now that the draft is over, the changes are continuing in his personnel department.

According to Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer, the Browns are letting go a pair of long-time personnel staffers who had survived multiple regime changes there, and no longer have an exclusive deal with former NFL G.M. Scot McCloughan.

McCloughan is going back to consulting for anyone who wants to pay him for his scouting opinions.

He also worked against Tannehill, albeit in a friendly competition that McMillan said helped push him on his way to a full recovery.

We got our surgery on the same exact day, McMillan said, via the Miami Herald. We starting rehab on the same exact day. From Day 1, it was always a competition. Who could walk without their crutches first? Who could run full speed underwater first? It was just little stuff. Who can get a bigger quad muscle? It was just really stupid stuff like that to keep competing with each other.

McMillan was set for a major role in the middle of the Dolphins defense last year and the team hopes to have him using his competitive juices to fill it for a longer stretch this season.

Still, with at least two owners abstaining (49ers CEO Jed York and Raiders owner Mark Davis) and at least one other owner (Jets CEO Christopher Johnson) apparently willing to defy the NFL’s no-protest position and treat the ensuing fines like parking tickets without punishing any protesting players, it wasn’t really unanimous. Even though the NFL said it was.

Unanimous or not, the external consensus seems to be that the NFL managed to take a bad situation that had assumed a fairly low profile and both make it worse and give it a much higher profile. Which means that, at a time the league surely wishes this one was over, it’s far from it.

Browns quarterback Tyrod Taylor had some advice for Randall when it comes to picking sides and making your opinion public on social media.

Don’t hit send, he said. Should have been smarter about the whole situation, about the tweet. Whether you feel that way or not, don’t tweet it.

Coach Hue Jackson, who plans to jump into Lake Erie on Friday to make good on a promise he made when the team was going 0-16 last season, knew Randall would get some heat for his tweet.

I think what Damarious found out is that there are a lot of passionate Cleveland fans here, and you’ve got to be careful about what you say, Jackson said. I don’t think he meant any harm. I think he has a love and a respect for Curry, obviously. But he found out that, ‘Hey, look, in this city it’s about the Cavaliers and LeBron James.

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Titans promote two, hire one in personnel department

The Titans have made a few changes to their personnel department for the 2018 season.

The team announced on Friday that they have promoted Ryan Cowden to vice president of player personnel. Cowden had been the director of player personnel for the last two seasons.

Jets rookie tight end Chris Herndon was arrested and charged with driving while intoxicated after a car accident early Saturday, the New Jersey State Police confirmed.

Herndon was taken away in handcuffs from the scene of the accident, which occurred on Route 80 West in Rockaway Township, N.J.

New Jersey State Police spokesman Sgt. Lawrence Peele said that Herndon was driving a Nissan Armada and hit and totaled a Toyota FJ-40 Land Cruiser owned by Albert Elliott, 76, of Manalapan, N.J. at 4:45 a.m. Saturday. Elliott was towing another vehicle, which was also destroyed along with the trailer.

Speaks spent three years at Ole Miss and left the school with 121 tackles, 15 tackles for loss and nine sacks. He’ll be in the mix for playing time off the edge after the Chiefs parted ways with Tamba Hali this offseason.

The second-year player tweeted on June 1 that his Instagram account had been stolen from him, too.

Since my Instagram got hacked guess I gotta learn how to use Twitter now, he ironically wrote on the platform Friday.

Moss, while seemingly not at fault, is no stranger to controversy. He was charged with indecent exposure while at Nebraska in 2012, for which he was banned from the campus in 2014 before transferring to Youngstown State.

Moss logged 14 total tackles in limited action for the Giants in his rookie year.

Terrell Owens is a first-ballot Hall of Famer at talking about a return to the NFL.

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