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The Patriots bounced back this week with a big win on the road in San Diego, moving up two spots to No. 2. New England has won eight of its last nine games. The Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski-led offense is humming along like a well-oiled machine, and more importantly, the defense is coming on as well. The Pats held Philip Rivers and the Chargers’ offense to 216 net yards, and if the Patriots can continue to get shutdown performances from their defense down the stretch, they’ll be near impossible to beat.
Speaking of Browner, an original member of Seattle’s Legion of Boom — don’t look now, but the Seahawks’ defense is back. Pete Carroll’s crew continues to stymie opposing quarterbacks, holding the explosive Eagles to just 139 yards of offense on their way to a convincing road win. Teams are scoring an average of 6.7 points per game against the Seahawks over the last three games, and Seattle’s offense is starting to execute at just the right time.
The defending champs have their swagger back, are playing loose and confident, and once again look like the team that dismantled Peyton Manning’s Broncos in the Super Bowl last February.
James Harrison turns 39 in May. The average age of the rest of the linebackers on the Steelers roster is about 25 years old. But seeing Harrison interact with the Steelersâ€™ younger players, I think heâ€™s definitely worth bringing back for another year, no matter what kind of production he will provide. Everyone in that locker room reveres Harrison, respects him, looks up to him. And judging by his Instagram account, heâ€™s the hardest worker on the team.
Game Kids Matt Asiata Jersey Perhaps most importantly, Harrison also seems to have the respect of Antonio Brown, the Steelersâ€™ star receiver whose locker is a few feet from Harrisonâ€™s. Just look at the back of the folding chair at Harrisonâ€™s locker as proof. A few years ago, Harrison and Brown started a tradition where, each year, they would both autograph the chair. I once asked Harrison about it, and he essentially said it was just for fun. But the point is: Harrison is the type of leader who can command respect from anyone in the roomâ€”and keep them on track.
Cutler’s DGAF vibe has also been connected to his desire to play football. Many Bears fans never forgave Cutler for coming out of the 2010 NFC Championship Game with a mystery knee injury that was later diagnosed as an MCL sprain. The prevailing sentiment — Cutler had tapped out in the midst of a miserable performance at frozen Soldier Field — stuck with him. Cutler and the Bears never returned to the playoffs in the six seasons that followed, costing the quarterback any chance to alter that ugly January legacy.
Where does that leave Cutler in 2017? Let’s work under the assumption that he is not ready to become a full-time Mr. Mom. (This is definitely, definitely not happening.) Cutler has struggled with durability — his only 16-game season with the Bears came way back in 2009 — and he’s recovering from surgery to repair a torn labrum in his shoulder. His cannon arm has always been his biggest attribute. If he doesn’t have that, it’s hard to imagine a varied market for his services.
Tolbert had one year remaining on a two-year contract signed last March. The move saves the Panthers $1.725 million on the salary cap.
With the Panthers, the three-time Pro Bowler earned 992 rushing yards, 13 rushing touchdowns, 771 receiving yards and six touchdown catches. Last season he compiled 114 yards on 35 carries, and 10 receptions for 72 yards and a score.
The decline of the 31-year-old bulldozer last year in both blocking and rushing likely means he’ll have to wait out the market if he decides to continue his NFL career. The Panthers should add younger legs to pair with Jonathan Stewart via a deep draft at the running back position.
The Panthers announced they have also parted ways with defensive tackle Paul Soliai. The 33-year-old signed with Carolina last year and compiled just eight tackles in 10 games played. The move saves the Panthers $2.5 million.
While there is less time to set up for a halftime show, Perry still has something big planned for the biggest stage in the world. She has stressed how prepared she is for the show, which she hopes will leave the audience, above all else, entertained.
This won’t be her first football-related appearance, either. Perry was a guest on ESPN’s College GameDay during the college football season for an Ole Miss game. That appearance included her wearing a fuzzy pink sweater and holding up a corn dog ¡ª yes, a corn dog:
With a wild imagination, who knows what she has in store in Arizona. But there might be as many people tuning in to see Perry and a good halftime show as there are people watching for something to go horribly wrong so they can talk about it and compare it to missteps of past halftime shows. Whether Perry and Kravitz put together a halftime show for the ages or one that will be ridiculed, we’ll find out soon.
Millsap was the focus of unrelenting trade rumors, and at one point, he was a surefire bet to be moved midseason. But Atlanta¡¯s calmed down on the trade front and is eight games above .500, even after sending Kyle Korver to Cleveland.
Womens Brett Favre Jersey Anthony was on pace to miss his first All-Star Game since 2010. But Kevin Love¡¯s knee surgery opened the door for Melo to take the trip to New Orleans. While his struggling Knicks tailspin, his personal streak will stay alive.
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Here¡¯s where things get interesting. Find a random number generator and assign digits 0-9 to the tops of all your columns and the side of each of your rows ¡ª i.e., the shaded boxes above. Now, every square should be the intersection of two numbers.
Can Kris Bryant repeat? Corey Seager over Clayton Kershaw? Can Mookie Betts get even better? We have the difference-makers from around the league.
With the Blue Jays peaking, Toronto GM Ross Atkins and team president Mark Shapiro and the rest of the front office have puzzled over how to get the rest of the way. Too often in the past, the Blue Jays threw money at their problems, usually to no avail. And while the current Jays aren’t frugal, their expenditures have been relatively modest and well in line with fair valuations of the talent they’ve added.
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Such was the case with departed slugger Edwin Encarnacion, who, despite gaudy counting stats, had shown some subtle signs of slippage. Thus, Encarnacion ended up signing a free-agent pact with the Indians for three years and $60 million.
The problem is that, while the Blue Jays clearly remain a contending team, their buffer isn’t that large. After all, they didn’t clinch a spot on last year’s AL wild-card game until the final day of the season. The minor league system has nothing in the way of short-term help. With Jose Bautista back in the fold but seemingly in decline, it felt like a winter to add, not subtract or run in place.
Youth Cody Latimer Jersey “I’m going from the most difficult year of my career to a fresh start in spring training trying to prove that I’m a different guy than what I’ve seen over the past few years,” Hughes said. “I was done with the rehab by the end of the season, so I was able to go into the offseason without any restrictions and treat it like a normal offseason throwing-wise, with bullpens and all that stuff.”
Twins pitcher Phil Hughes said he might have the rib that was surgically removed last year plated and turned into jewelry.
A 30-year-old right-hander, Hughes pitched for the Yankees from 2007 to 2013, then signed a $24 million, three-year contract with Minnesota. The Twins liked him so much, they signed him to a $58 million, five-year deal in December 2014.
“You’d like to think if he can come back healthy he’s going to be motivated to … help us kind of change direction,” Twins manager Paul Molitor said.
Alshon Jeffery, Chicago Bears wide receiver
Jeffery’s durability concerns and late-season suspension make it hard to believe the Bears tag the receiver for a second consecutive year. Jeffery has no direct ties to general manager Ryan Pace or head coach John Fox, and the Bears’ supporting cast essentially rendered him useless by stepping up throughout the season both when he was on the field and when he wasn’t.
Trumaine Johnson, Los Angeles Rams cornerback
In hindsight, the Rams probably wish they would’ve tagged Janoris Jenkins instead of Johnson last season. After registering seven interceptions in 2015, Johnson only picked off one pass last year. With new leadership taking over in Los Angeles, it’s likely Johnson isn’t even in the Rams’ long-term plans. A reunion between Johnson and former defensive coordinator Gregg Williams (now with the Browns, who have plenty of money to spend after cutting corner Tramon Williams) seems like a sensible move for both parties.
Southern hired a non-option guy as head coach. He promised to keep the option rolling, but his coordinator hires were a bit odd.
The middle of the schedule was brutal, featuring road trips to Western Michigan, Arkansas State, Georgia Tech, and Ole Miss, and a home game against Appalachian State. Those games would define the year.
Release Victor Cruz, J.T. Thomas and Rashad Jennings. The Giants have $25 million in cap space, but they’ll want to clear space and roster spots for more productive players. Cruz wasn’t the same player after battling back from his torn patellar tendon and is due $9.4 million in 2017; Thomas and Jennings are replacement-level players. The Giants would clear out $13 million with those moves.
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Those concerns aren’t there for 28-year-old safety Barry Church, who formed an effective combination next to 2015 first-rounder Byron Jones in 2016. Church did miss four games with a forearm injury, but his versatility makes him a good fit if the Cowboys decide to retool in the secondary. Jones has been solid at safety, but defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli could move him back to cornerback, where Jones would be more valuable.
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Kyle Shanahan said he was panicked at the thought of losing his backpack that contained his playbook on an iPad as well as $30,000 worth of Super Bowl tickets.
It was a particularly amusing story for Bay Area media considering the accidental thief of the backpack was Art Spander of the San Francisco Examiner. Spander is a local legend in San Francisco sports writing, earning the McCann Award from the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1999.
Here’s Shanahan’s recollection of what happened in his own words:
“It was a very panicked feeling,” Shanahan said.
But Shanahan wasn’t panicked because of the presence of his game plan, which would still have needed a password to access.
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A New Jersey Devils legend sure sounds like he¡¯s ready to call it a career.
Patrik Elias, the 40-year-old winger who¡¯s spent his entire career with the Devils, played in just 16 games in a 2015-16 season ended early by knee cartilage surgery. Still an unrestricted free agent, Elias has spent the entire 2016-17 season trying to rehab his injury at the Devils¡¯ facility.
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On Friday, Elias went on with the Devils pregame radio show and indicated for the first time that he¡¯s leaning toward hanging up his skates:
¡°I¡¯m so thankful to [Devils GM] Ray [Shero] that he allows me to still train [here] and give it everything I can to get back. It¡¯s very hard after all these years going through injuries like that. For quite a while, you kind of rethink everything, what¡¯s worth it, if you¡¯re still capable of competing at the highest level. I gotta make a decision soon, not [just] to be honest with myself, but at the same time for respect to the guys and the coaches.
Elias self-deprecatingly called himself a ¡°sparring partner¡± for the Devils players who try and come back from injuries, since that¡¯s who he trains and practices with. When asked about the timetable for his return, Elias really began hinting at where he¡¯s leaning:
¡°Have you given yourself any kind of timetable?¡±
¡°[Laughing] The time is up, actually. I talked to Ray before Christmas, I expressed how I feel physically and I honestly think I¡¯d be capable of [coming back] physically. But it¡¯s more, for me, where I¡¯m at mentally. It¡¯s hard to explain. When you go through injuries it leaves you with a little bit of doubt, but at the same time you start realizing ¡®maybe there¡¯s something more for me after hockey.¡¯ Obviously, enjoying the family and doing stuff I haven¡¯t been able to do for 25 or 30 years, maybe. Mentally, I¡¯m just getting closer to wanting to enjoy those things.¡±
The final event of the 2017 NHL All-Star Weekend is here! At last, the 44 players selected by the league will play for a chance to split a $1 million check. John Scott isn¡¯t here this year, but the event still holds promise.
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The three-on-three format is split into three games, with the Central and Pacific playing first, while the Atlantic and Metropolitan slot in an hour later. The winners of those games will advance to the final, and you can follow along with all the action right here!
You can watch the event on NBC in the U.S. and on CBC, Sportsnet, and TVA Sports in Canada starting at 3:30 p.m. ET / 12:30 p.m. PT.
Keep refreshing this page to follow along with the action throughout the day!
Fortin needs to prove that he play a complete, three-zone game and make plays against superior competition, but he¡¯s already shown over the past six months that teams might¡¯ve made a mistake passing on him in the draft.
Krys is the kind of defenseman prospect you can dream on a bit. He¡¯s already playing a big role at BU as a 18-year-old true freshman, and largely fit in on a team with elite talent like Charlie McAvoy, Jordan Greenway, Clayton Keller, and Kieffer Bellows. He also nearly made Team USA for the WJC, but ended up being the team¡¯s final cut.
So he¡¯s clearly an exciting talent, and someone the Blackhawks can hope will develop according to plan. He has the potential to be a top-notch quarterback on the power play, and could become a very dangerous offensive player from the blue line. On the flip side, he still can be mistake-prone, and his lack of size doesn¡¯t help him defensively. He¡¯s also only committed four penalties in 26 games, so he¡¯s at least shown some good discipline in that area.
Limited Claude Giroux Jersey Krys isn¡¯t as close to the NHL as some of the other players on this list, but his upside might be higher. This is one development project you¡¯ll want to keep an eye on.
“I was laying myself on the line by saying, if this doesn’t work in three to four years, if we’re not back on the top — and the definition of top means contending for the Western Conference, contending for a championship — then I will step down, because that means I have failed,” Jim Buss revealed in a 2013 Los Angeles Times article.
“I don’t know if you can fire yourself if you own the team … but what I would say is I’d walk away, and you guys figure out who’s going to run basketball operations, because I obviously couldn’t do the job.
“There’s no question in my mind we will accomplish success. I’m not worried about putting myself on the line.”
Allen Iverson Jersey The clock has been ticking ever since Jim made that statement. But when exactly does the buzzer sound?
Jeanie Buss has stated publicly that she has the authority to hold her brother to his word — and she has said previously that the deadline arrives this year. But when Jim Buss says he’s excited to work with Magic for years to come, that doesn’t sound like a man who intends to step down anytime soon.
It’s open for debate whether Jackson’s decision to reference Graham is a critique of Anthony or an acknowledgement by Jackson that he has failed to reach his star forward.
Evans missed the final 38 games of the 2015-16 season and the first 26 of this campaign after undergoing an osteochondral autograft transfer system procedure last February to replace cartilage in three areas of his right knee. It was the third surgery on his right knee in the span of nine months.
Jahleel Addae Womens Jersey The 27-year-old guard has been on a steadily increasing minute restriction since his return that keeps him out of back-to-back games.
Evans is averaging 9.7 points, 3.6 assists and 3.2 rebounds per game, while shooting a career-low 39.9 percent from the field off the bench in 23 games this season — the final one on the contract he signed with the Pelicans four years ago.
Julian Edelman’s miraculous catch in the fourth quarter helped propel the New England Patriots’ historic comeback over the Atlanta Falcons in Super Bowl LI.
Trailing 28-20 with 2 minutes, 28 seconds to play, Edelman reeled the improbable grab in after Tom Brady’s pass was tipped by Falcons cornerback Robert Alford. The 23-yard gain set the Patriots up for the game-tying touchdown en route to the win in overtime.
“We’re in the information-gathering stage,” Catanella says about the general direction in Sacramento. “Right now it’s about getting the machine up and working.” Still, sources with intimate knowledge of the Kings say Ranadive won’t entertain the prospect of dealing Cousins.
The 49ers were one of two teams without a single Pro Bowl player in 2016, and in ESPN Insider’s most recent roster rankings, they ranked No. 32. General manager John Lynch is an interesting but entirely unpredictable hire.
Limited Youth Rashad Jennings Jersey I don’t have to explain, because you see it. Then, myself, tonight I’m just standing there and I get a tech. It’s not an equal balance. Of course, I have my personal struggles with the referees. I know that.”
Limited Youth Phil Kessel Jersey Sometimes it’s an ill-advised shot early in the possession whose only explanation is acting out against a noncall or an incorrect call. Sometimes it’s a missed opportunity for a teammate because Cousins has clearly broken off a play.
Above all, unlike Malone — and now Dave ?Joerger, hired last spring to replace Karl — criticism of Cousins by Karl seemed to be personal, less about the work and more about mind games.