The Kings (44-28-8) qualified for the postseason on Wednesday night with the St. Louis Blues’ 4-3 loss to the Chicago Blackhawks. Los Angeles returned to the postseason in coach John Stevens’ initial season behind the bench. Stevens replaced Darryl Sutter after the Kings sputtered to a 10th-place finish in the 2016-17 season and combined with new general manager Rob Blake to pivot the team into a more up-tempo, offensive-minded team while not forgetting their defensive roots. The result was a double-digit standings point improvement and a slight chance to gain home-ice advantage if the Kings win their remaining two games and the San Jose Sharks and Anaheim Ducks lose in either of their last two matches.
Los Angeles is battling through significant injuries among its defensive corps that could place two rookies into the lineup on Thursday. Jake Muzzin and Derek Forbort are sidelined with injuries that have them categorized as ‘week-to-week’ by Stevens. Forbort suffered a lower-body injury early in the first period against Colorado, forcing Stevens to utilize Alec Martinez for 32:11 of game play. Paul LaDue stepped in to play 16:32, and fellow rookie Kevin Gravel looks to round out the third defensive pair.
“It’s been the next man up,” Stevens said. “It’s odd that there are that many defenseman injuries this time of the year. It’s the schedule, everybody wants to put pucks in deep and forecheck, so the speed of the game — Minnesota’s lost a couple guys, just like we have.”
The Kings recorded victories in the two previous games between the teams this season, winning 5-2 on Dec. 5 in Los Angeles and getting a 4-3 overtime triumph on Mar. 19.
The Wild (44-26-10) clinched a playoff spot on Monday night and opened their three-game California road trip with a 3-1 loss to the Anaheim Ducks on Wednesday night. Matt Dumba registered the Minnesota goal and Devan Dubnyk stopped 27 of 29 Anaheim shots.
Despite a loss in a game that was meaningless to their postseason aspirations [url=http://www.chiefscheapstore.com/chad-henne-jersey-cheap]Chad Henne Jersey[/url] , Wild coach Bruce Boudreau liked his team’s performance in a tight checking game that should be the brand of hockey they will face in the postseason.
“The first two periods we were really good,” Boudreau said. “The third period they definitely outworked us. It was a great test that this is what playoff hockey’s going to be like. The Ducks were in the third period a desperate hockey club. Maybe it’s a cheap lesson learned, hopefully.”
Their remaining two games will not affect their playoff seeding as they are locked into the No. 3 seed in the Central Division and will face either the Nashville Predators or the Winnipeg Jets. With both potential opponents among the favorites to win the Stanley Cup, Boudreau welcomes the challenges they present.
Like Stevens, Boudreau must manage a team with significant injuries on the blue line with less than a week until the playoffs starts.
Ryan Suter, one of the top defenseman in the NHL, was lost for the season after suffering a fractured right ankle in a 4-1 loss to the Dallas Stars on Saturday night. Suter underwent surgery on Monday to repair the fracture.
The Philadelphia Eagles are sporting some bling to commemorate their Super Bowl victory.
Players, coaches and organization members received their rings during a red-carpet party in Philadelphia on Thursday night.
The ring honors Eagles fans with a silhouette of Lincoln Financial Field and the title of the team's fight song, "Fly, Eagles Fly."
The ring also features a waterfall of 127 diamonds, paying tribute to the "Philly Special." The 127 diamonds represent the sum of the jersey numbers of the three players who handled the ball in the most memorable play of the team's 41-33 victory over the New England Patriots.
Prosecutors will not bring criminal charges against Buffalo Bills receiver Zay Jones after a naked Cory James Jersey , bloody argument with his brother in Los Angeles earlier this week.
Los Angeles prosecutors declined the case because of ”insufficient evidence,” district attorney’s office spokesman Paul Eakins told The Associated Press on Thursday.
The 22-year-old Jones was arrested after officers were called to a disturbance in downtown Los Angeles, said police spokesman Luis Garcia. Jones was found ”breaking glass doors and windows” and arrested on suspicion of felony vandalism, Garcia said.
The arrest was first reported by TMZ, which posted a video showing a nude Zay Jones pushing his brother, Cayleb, in what appeared to be the hallway of an apartment building.
His agent, Zeke Sandhu Germain Ifedi Jersey , did not reply to text and voicemail messages. Sandhu also represents Cayleb Jones.
Cayleb Jones, a Minnesota Vikings receiver, on Wednesday also posted a note on his Twitter account, which read: ”I am my brothers keeper.”
His father, Robert Jones, posted a note on his Twitter account on Wednesday saying his son ”is with me and his mom,” while adding ”he’s going to be fine!”
The Bills had no immediate comment.
Associated Press writer John Wawrow in Buffalo, New York Vonn Bell Jersey , contributed to this report.
Every so often, a player with multiple years left on his contract stays away from training camp. In rare instances, the absence lingers into the regular season. Most, however, end up showing up — often without anything other than a commitment from the team not to collect on the fines racked up during the absence.
With Falcons receiver Julio Jones, there’s a good chance it won’t play out that way. Jones seems to be a man of principle. Unhappy with a contract that pays him only $10.5 million this year (in comparison to the $30 million per year in new money paid to quarterback Matt Ryan), Jones has tried to get the team to rectify the situation.
Every step of the way, the team assumed that he was merely sending a message in 2018 about wanting a new deal in 2019. Eventually Dorian O'Daniel Jersey , the team reportedly told him that there will be no new deal this year, conveniently citing budgetary concerns. (“We don’t have the money in the budget to pay you” is a courteous way of saying, “We don’t want to pay the money.”)
If/when Jones doesn’t show up, the Falcons will need to make a decision. Do they continue to believe Jones is merely sending a message, or do they believe that he’d actually skip regular-season games without a new deal? Would he skip a full 10 weeks, allowing him to get credit for the contract year? Would he actually skip the full season?
Most would never do it. For Jones, who isn’t wired like most, the fact that he’s already gone this far suggests that maybe he would.
The best argument against giving him more money continues to be that tearing up his current contract with three years left on it sets a bad precedent. But that’s a red herring. To any player who tries to do the same in the future Jermon Bushrod Jersey , the response would (should) be, “Perform like Julio Jones and then we’ll talk.”
The better approach would be to find a way to quickly craft a win-win that allows Jones to believe that the team has addressed his concerns in a meaningful way. Jones acting so out of character proves how much it means to Jones. Which indicates he won’t fold up the tents and return to the team simply because he’s getting nervous about the $40,000 per day fine, and because he’s hopeful that the team will agree to waive the amount due if he just shows up.
When the NFL announced a new rule penalizing any player who lowers his head to initiate contact Bruce Smith Jersey , an immediate question was whether that would apply to linemen coming out of their stances.
The answer to that question is yes.
NFL head of officiating Al Riveron confirmed to reporters today that linemen who come out of their stances with their heads down and initiate contact with the top of the helmet will be penalized.
According to Tom Pelissero of NFL Media, Riveron was asked today at the league meeting, What if a defensive lineman coming out of his stance initiates contact with his head? 鈥淐an鈥檛 do it. He鈥檚 got to get his head up,” Riveron answered.
So NFL linemen are going to have to make significant changes to the way they do their jobs: In the past, linemen frequently made contact with their helmets when coming out of their stances. Now Kevin Faulk Jersey , they can’t.
Eventually, the NFL might just get rid of the three-point stance altogether. This new rule could be a first step toward that.
When receiver Terrell Owens began to indicate that he’s interested in playing football again, the CFL’s Edmonton Eskimos moved quickly to call dibs on him, adding T.O. to their negotiating list. Apparently, T.O. is now interested.
According to 3downnation.com Tim Williams Jersey , Owens has invoked the 10-day clause that gives the Eskimos a window to offer him a deal or to release his rights. Owens made the request on July 14.
Agent Jason Staroszik reportedly is handling the matter on Owens’ behalf.
The money won’t be great (the league minimum is $54,000), but if Owens wants to play, this is one of his only options.
Owens previously played some non-NFL football, for the Allen Wranglers of the Indoor Football League. But his deal entailed only playing home games Jaleel Johnson Jersey , and it didn’t end well.
If Owens joins the Eskimos, he could make his debut on Thursday, August 2, at home again against the Saskatchewan RoughRiders, in a game that would start during the NFL’s annual Hall of Fame game.
Two wins over the Atlanta Hawks seemed to ease any frustration felt by Hassan Whiteside over playing time.
Whiteside calmed down in those wins by producing and then downplayed his anger.
Now Whiteside and the Heat attempt to get another win Friday night when they visit the New York Knicks.
Whiteside’s frustration with coach Erik Spoelstra’s strategy boiled over after Saturday’s 110-109 overtime home loss to the Brooklyn Nets. Whiteside played 20 minutes before he was rendered to the bench in the fourth quarter and overtime Jarius Wright Jersey , and hardly shy during his expletive-filled postgame comments.
“Man, it’s annoying,” Whiteside told reporters after the game, which was his second game back from missing nine contests with a hip injury. “Why we matching up? We got one of the best centers in the league. Why we matching up? A lot of teams don’t have a good center. They’re going to use their strength.”
Whiteside calmed down two days later, and the Heat subsequently reeled off two more wins to clinch a postseason berth. Whiteside totaled 18 and 12 rebounds in Tuesday’s 101-98 home win over Atlanta and then grabbed 13 rebounds in Wednesday’s 115-96 rout at Atlanta.
“I was just frustrated, man,” Whiteside said. “I was frustrated that we lost. I really wanted to get that game. I could have handled it different. But I got so caught up in wanting to get that win. I get real competitive. I really want to be out there. But I just trust coach’s decision.”
The Heat handed New York a 119-98 loss in Miami on March 21 and things aren’t much better for the Knicks, who are finishing off their fourth straight 50-loss season.
New York might be without Enes Kanter, who totaled 23 and 13 rebounds in the last meeting. He has been held out for two games because of back and wrist injuries and his status is questionable.
Though not his desire.
“It doesn’t matter if we have one or two games left Michael Schofield Jersey , 10 games left or whatever, you still want to go out there and fight with your teammates and battle with your teammates,” Kanter told reporters Thursday. “It would be really selfish to think about opting in our opting out or thinking about my contract and not playing, giving up on my teammates and my team, it would be really selfish. For me, the Knicks are still paying me, I’m still part of this team. If I’m still healthy I’m just going to go out there and fight.”
Like Spoelstra, Knicks coach Jeff Hornacek has faced some internal strife within his team, though his status with the franchise is on far shakier ground than the Heat longtime coach.
With New York coming off a brutal 97-73 loss to the struggling Orlando Magic John Miller Jersey , New York’s fourth straight loss, Hornacek faced questions about whether his team quit on him in defeat.
“I think right at the end there,” Hornacek said after his team shot 35 percent and scored 12 points in the fourth quarter “That last four, five minutes. The season’s not over and we have a couple more home games. If they come out and shoot the ball like that, it’s going to be really ugly.”
It became contentious in the aftermath with Tim Hardaway Jr and Courtney Lee both voicing frustration, especially when Lee was asked about fans blaming Hornacek for New York’s 14th losing season in the last 17 years.
“For what injuries?” Lee told reporters. “For Tim having a stress fracture. For (Kristaps Porzingis) going down. How (can) you blame coach for that? That’s a question for you, can you answer that on the record?”
Richard Sherman walked into what used to be enemy territory at the home of the San Francisco 49ers decked out in a red suit to match his new team after switching sides from Seattle in this fierce NFC West rivalry.
Sherman still must wait a bit to put on a red 49ers jersey, but he vows it will be sooner than some people expected considering he is coming off surgery on his right Achilles tendon that ended his final season with the Seahawks and led to his release earlier this month.
Sherman said he is already back on the treadmill following that surgery and another operation to repair bone spurs in his left heel and hopes to be back on the field by May or June and at full speed by the starting of training camp this summer.
"There are some people that are cut from a different cloth and built from different things and I think I'm one of those people," Sherman said Tuesday. "I look forward to showing people that you can come back better from things. ... I look forward to coming back better than ever. I've got a lot of things to show a few people."
Sherman showed plenty on the field during his seven years in Seattle Rakeem Nunez-Roches Jersey , where he developed from an overlooked fifth-round pick out of Stanford into the prototypical lockdown cornerback who shut down opposing receivers and let them know about it with his colorful trash talk.
Sherman showed similar skills defending the three-year contract he negotiated himself with the 49ers. The deal is worth up to $39 million but much of it is tied to incentives for playing time and awards and little is guaranteed, according to Pro Football Talk. That led to criticism from players like Joe Thomas, former executives like Joe Banner and some in the media.
Sherman got a $3 million signing bonus, a $2 million salary for 2018 and a $2 million bonus if he passes a physical before Nov. 11. The rest of his salary is tied to per-game active roster bonuses and rewards for being named to the Pro Bowl or All-Pro teams.
If he gets those honors and plays at least 90 percent of the defensive snaps and all 16 games this season, Sherman could make $13 million this year, more than he was due to make with no guaranteed money in the final year of his deal with the Seahawks.
"The biggest misconception is that it's a bad deal," he said. "If you're comparing it to my last deal in Seattle, I had no money guaranteed. ... I'm coming off a ruptured Achilles, what do I have? What security do I have there? With this deal Andre Reed Jersey , I get $5 million guaranteed, which is half of my other contract. I get the ability to make more than I could have done whether I played at an All-Pro level or not in Seattle. And that's really all that I wanted. I play at the level that I'm capable of. I feel security in the upcoming years and I felt comfortable with that. I'm great with that."
Sherman said it was important to him to negotiate his own deal and he studied other cornerback contracts before the 5陆 hours of negotiations with 49ers cap specialist Paraag Marathe and general manager John Lynch.
Sherman pointed out that many of the contracts negotiated each offseason by certified agents come with lofty sticker prices that players never get to see because of few guarantees.
He said he has already heard from other players interested in doing their own deals in the future and expects more to come.
"I think these agents sometimes benefit from relationships. 'Oh, I know this GM. We've had dealings with for years.' They really don't have to do a ton of work. 'Hey, I called this guy. How much are you willing to give him? Oh, $5 million? OK. I'll convince him that that's good enough,'" Sherman said. "Instead of guys being able to control their own destiny, being in control of their own finances and I think it goes back to just educating our players in general on their own finances and being in control of your own life. I think more of our players are."
A body found inside a beer cooler at the major league home of the Atlanta Braves belongs to a Minnesota inventor who was doing contract work at the stadium Sheldon Richardson Jersey , police in Atlanta’s suburbs said Wednesday.
Cobb County police on Wednesday identified him as Todd Keeling, 48, of White Bear Lake, Minnesota.
Keeling had worked an overnight shift for a beverage vendor, authorities said. A co-worker found his body inside the beer cooler at SunTrust Park before Tuesday night’s Braves vs. Cincinnati Reds game.
An autopsy was planned Wednesday to help determine how he died, Cobb County police spokeswoman Sarah O’Hara said.
The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration is investigating the death, agency spokesman Michael D’Aquino told The Associated Press.
The Braves declined to comment.
Keeling was an inventor Richard Sherman Jersey , and had been at SunTrust Park to install his patented beer-pouring technology when he died, a relative told an Atlanta newspaper.
In October 2016, the United States issued the patent for the invention, which features ”a new nozzle for a beer valve tap and a new foamless beer tap dispensing system,” government records show.
”This is his dream since he was a kid,” his aunt, Fran Kuchta Joshua Garnett Jersey , told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution .
Keeling had already worked to get beer technology installed at The Chicago White Sox and Minnesota Twins’ stadiums, and was excited about the technology being added to SunTrust Park, Kuchta said.
Just this week, Braves officials showed off the new technology to local news reporters, saying it will allow beers to be poured about three times faster than in the past.
SunTrust Park is northwest of Atlanta, near Smyrna, Georgia.
Stephen Belichick is both the Patriots’ safeties coach and the son of head coach Bill Belichick Tim Williams Jersey , and at his press conference today Belichick praised his son for being a big part of the team’s success.
Bill Belichick was tightlipped after most of the questions he faced today, but when asked about his son, he was glad to go into detail about why having Stephen on the staff is helpful.
“Steve’s done a great job,” his father and boss said. “It’s certainly not easy being in the position that he’s been in for several years, when he wasn’t officially on the staff and then when he officially was. He’s done a good job. He’s certainly given me a good perspective on things he sees from an assistant coach. He’s certainly a lot closer in age to the players than I am, so from that perspective, players’ needs and where they’re at. From an assistant coach’s perspective he has a good feel for things as a staff we need Matt Schaub Jersey , things I might need to address that I’ve missed, because I don’t see the point of view he sees, so he’s been really helpful on that. It’s been good.”
Few professions see more nepotism than football coaching, and the Belichick family is no exception.(Stephen’s brother Brian Belichick also works for the Patriots.) But Belichick says Stephen is earning his keep.
JACKSONVILLE Dwight Clark Jersey , Fla. (AP) — The Jacksonville Jaguars might have lost their No. 1 receiver for the season.
Marqise Lee, who led the team in receptions in 2017, injured his left knee in a 17-6 victory against Atlanta in the preseason Saturday night and could be out for the year.
Lee was carted off the field in the first quarter after Falcons cornerback Damontae Kazee twisted his leg making a tackle. Lee fumbled on the play, but it was overturned because Kazee was flagged for tackling with his helmet.
Teammates and coaches offered well-wishes to Lee as he left the field. Nonetheless, it was the kind of preseason injury that leaves players, coaches and fans shaking their heads.
It also reaffirmed Falcons coach Dan Quinn’s decision to rest two of his biggest offensive stars, receiver Julio Jones and running back Devonta Freeman.
Lee had 56 catches for 702 yards and three touchdowns last season. He signed a four-year, $34 million contract in March that included $16.5 million guaranteed.
A second-round draft pick from USC in 2014, Lee has 171 catches for 2,166 yards and eight touchdowns. He missed games because of various injuries in three of his four seasons.
If Lee misses extended time in 2018, the Jaguars would rely on second-year pros Keelan Cole and Dede Westbrook, one-year rental Donte Moncrief, and rookie DJ Chark to pick up the slack.
BEARS 27, CHIEFS 20
CHICAGO (AP) — Bears coach Matt Nagy decided to rest starters for the next-to-last preseason game rather than use it as the customary regular-season tuneup.
And the backups proved that they’re also ready for the regular season as Chase Daniel directed touchdown drives on the first three possessions.
The Bears played in the Hall of Fame Game and have been practicing since July 20 Ryan Quigley Jersey , and Nagy liked what he’d seen from the starters in practices. So he decided Friday to keep starters out of what normally would be a dress rehearsal for the regular-season opener at Green Bay.
Daniel replaced Mitchell Trubisky against his mentor, Andy Reid, and the Chiefs, the team Nagy last year served as the offensive coordinator.
Playing against both the Chiefs’ starting defense and then the backups, Daniel led the Bears to a 24-10 halftime lead. Daniel, a Chiefs backup quarterback from 2013-15, finished 15 of 18 for 198 yards and two touchdowns. The first two Bears touchdown drives came against Kansas City’s starting defense, minus injured safety Eric Berry and four other injured players.
RAMS 21, TEXANS 20
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Rookie John Kelly rushed for 64 yards and two touchdowns, and the briefly debuted their new defensive stars.
Although the Rams rested 10 presumptive offensive starters for the third straight preseason game, the Los Angeles defense’s three big offseason acquisitions played at the Coliseum. Ndamukong Suh and cornerbacks Marcus Peters and Aqib Talib got some action early in the first quarter before sitting.
J.J. Watt also started and made a tackle in his first on-field action since breaking his leg in the Texans‘ fifth game last season. The three-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year didn’t get to see the current holder of the award, Aaron Donald, who is deep in his second consecutive contract holdout from the Rams.
Alfred Blue rushed for an early score for Houston, and Braxton Miller caught a TD pass from Brandon Weeden Tom Rathman Jersey , who went 10 of 17 for 108 yards with an interception after Deshaun Watson’s brief action. Quan Bray caught a 3-yard touchdown pass from Joe Webb with 5:54 to play for the Texans, but Ejuan Price sacked Webb on the ensuing 2-point conversion attempt.
Nick Rose then missed a 57-yard field goal at the gun.
STEELERS 16, TITANS 6
PITTSBURGH (AP) — Ben Roethlisberger made the most of his brief preseason cameo, throwing for 114 yards and a touchdown.
New Pittsburgh offensive coordinator Randy Fichtner didn’t let Roethlisberger’s lone scheduled exhibition appearance ahead of the Sept. 9 season opener at Cleveland go to waste. Roethlisberger completed 11 of 18 passes during his three drives, including a 32-yard rainbow to Justin Hunter for a score late in the first quarter.
Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota, meanwhile, struggled against Pittsburgh’s starting defense. Mariota completed 5 of 8 passes for 43 yards while playing most of the first half. He missed a wide-open Corey Davis for what would have been a long touchdown on Tennessee’s opening drive and his afternoon ended late in the second quarter when Steelers rookie safety Terrell Edmunds picked off a floater intended for Taywan Taylor.
The Titans didn’t do much in the run game to take any of the pressure off Mariota. Derrick Henry and Dion Lewis combined for 23 yards rushing on eight carries. Tennessee’s lone touchdown came on a 3-yard touchdown pass from Blaine Gabbert to tight end Anthony Firkser in the fourth quarter.
COLTS 23, 49ERS 17
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Andrew Luck threw a touchdown pass on what will probably be his last preseason drive, and Christine Michael scored on a 1-yard plunge late in the third quarter.
Luck looked much sharper than he did in Monday night’s loss to Baltimore. He wound up 8 of 10 with 90 yards and produced the only TD in the first half. He also had four carries for 27 yards before leaving midway through the second quarter.
Otherwise, it was a struggle for the Colts. They had trouble establishing the run — and stopping the run, too.
Alfred Morris carried 13 times for 71 yards in the first half as San Francisco piled up 99 yards on the ground. Morris finished with 17 carries for 84 yards.
Still, the Colts managed to keep the 49ers out of the end zone until late in the fourth quarter and nearly picked off Jimmy Garoppolo on back-to-back p
SUNRISE, Fla. — The Nashville Predators have already set a franchise record with 113 points.
Now the Predators (51-17-11), who visit the Florida Panthers (40-30-8) on Tuesday night at the BB&T Center Drew Kaser Jersey , have their sights set on a new goal.
With three games remaining, they have a chance to win their first Presidents’ Trophy, given to the team that leads the NHL in points.
A Predators win on Tuesday would also give them their first division title in franchise history, taking the Central.
Filip Forsberg, a 23-year-old center from Sweden, leads the Predators with 61 points in 64 games. Even though he has missed 11 games with a hand injury and three because of a suspension, he is within four points of breaking his previous career best in that category.
“I want to be one of those guys who makes a difference for my team,” Forsberg told The Tennessean. “That doesn’t have to be on the scoreboard, but I’m more than happy if it is.”
While the Predators are happy, the Panthers are nervous because what was a 75 percent probability of a playoff berth just two weeks ago is now a long shot.
According to hockeyreference.com, the Panthers were down to just a 6.7 percent chance of making the playoffs before Monday’s thrilling 3-2 win over the visiting Carolina Hurricanes.
Defenseman Alex Petrovic scored the go-ahead goal with 7:58 left in the third period to key the win at the BB&T Center. It was just his second goal of the season.
“It doesn’t come too often,” Petrovic said of his goal. “But it was a big goal and a big win. We’re trying to get some wins in the last week of the regular season. We have to keep pushing.”
Certainly, it should help that the Panthers will be back at the BB&T Center on Tuesday. The Panthers are 13-3 in their past 16 games at home.
Another trend in Florida’s favor is that, since the All-Star break Andrew Adams Jersey , it leads the NHL in points by defensemen.
Normally, the Panthers get defensemen points from Keith Yandle, Aaron Ekblad and Mike Matheson.
On Monday, however, it was Petrovic and rookie MacKenzie Weegar. Weegar’s goal was the second of his career and his first since Oct. 20.
“It has been awhile since I scored,” Weegar said. “(Jared McCann) made a heads-up play, dropped the puck back to me, and I put it in the back of the net. I was happy to contribute.”
The Panthers will take it because they need every victory they can get. This was Florida’s 40th win of the season, just the fifth time in franchise history they reached that milestone.
The win also gave the Panthers 88 points, five behind the idle New Jersey Devils in the battle for the last wild-card playoff berth in the Eastern Conference.
Florida has four games left in the regular season. New Jersey has three.
“It’s very intense,” Weegar said of the playoff race. “We are fighting for every inch. We’re not going to stop until the last game.”
The Cowboys list Tavon Austin as a running back on their roster Demar Dotson Jersey , but he starts his day in the wide receivers room.
“That’s what he played in college and what he’s been playing in the NFL,” offensive coordinator Scott Linehan said. “He starts there, but he plays a lot of things for us, so he’ll be in all the rooms at some point.”
When the Cowboys traded for Austin on the final day of the draft, executive vice president Stephen Jones tabbed Austin a “web back.” Whatever a web back is.
It’s something similar to the role Lance Dunbar played for the Cowboys, only more.
“I don’t care what I’m being called as long as I’m playing,” Austin said. “That’s all that matters. You can call me anything you want as long as I’m playing.”
Austin also likely becomes the team’s punt returner, and the Cowboys could try him as a kick returner, too, although he has only 25 kickoff returns in his career.
Jones said the Cowboys expect to get Austin between 12 and 24 touches a game, which seems overambitious. Austin averaged 7.5 touches Joe Thuney Jersey , including returns, in his five seasons with the Rams.
“That felt like my college days,” Austin said of Jones’ comment. “I felt like I was back at West Virginia. That’s definitely a good feeling for him to even feel like he wants to do that to me. Being in this league, you’re probably only guaranteed three or four times a game. For him to say that, I’m blessed, and I hope it does come, and I can take advantage every time they give it to me.”
GOLD COAST, Australia (AP) — He can laugh about it now, the concept of being “too big” that led him on this extraordinary journey to the Philadelphia Eagles.
Jordan Mailata has made the cut for the Super Bowl champions’ 53-man roster less than a year after first putting on a helmet and is ready to start his rookie season.
Mailata grew up in western Sydney, dreaming of making his living in Australia’s National Rugby League. He got close, too Davon House Jersey , with his work ethic and his pure bulk impressing the senior coaches at South Sydney, the NRL club owned by the actor Russell Crowe.
But, somehow, a theory that at 6-foot-8 and more than 350 pounds Mailata was too big for a game that relies so heavily on aerobic fitness became a potential roadblock to a lucrative contact. So his agent put together a highlight video of this human wrecking ball rampaging through defenses and making crunching tackles in the NRL’s under-20 competition and sent it around.
The video was designed, Mailata said, “to help generate interest in the rugby universe.”
It did way more than that.
“At the same time it generated attention in the NFL,” he said. “I was quite lucky when I reached the crossroad in my life, the NFL pathway reached out to me as another avenue to pursue. That’s what it came down to.”
Navigating the NFL’s International Pathway program and the draft and then making the Eagles’ roster has been, as the 21-year-old offensive tackle put it, “surreal.”
A couple of nights before the Eagles were scheduled to open the season against Atlanta, Mailata was doing a telephone conference with reporters in Australia Brent Urban Jersey , where his story is making news even as the rugby league season heads into the playoffs. It was Wednesday morning in Sydney, and Mailata prefaced his response to the first question: “Good to hear another Aussie on the phone.”
And with that, he may have single-handedly increased the NFL’s audience Down Under.
Mailata didn’t play football high school or college and wasn’t even thinking about the game in his late teens. He had two heart operations in 2015 which interrupted his junior rugby league progress, but has been given the all-clear. All in all, it has been a very non-conventional approach to the NFL.
“I guess it’s every American football player’s dream to be part of an NFL team and I’m quite lucky to be living my own dreams and theirs,” Mailata said.
While being so big was a benefit in short bursts, it was also the concern for top-flight rugby league coaches who figured Mailata would lack endurance.
Michael Maguire guided South Sydney to a drought-breaking NRL title in 2014 and remained as coach of the Rabbitohs until last year, when he crossed paths with Mailata. He saw plenty of character in Mailata, but realized as soon as reports filtered back about him being interested in the NFL scouting combine that the young player was better suited to the American game.
“He’s huge, obviously, but he’s also explosive out of the blocks and agile for a man his size Rodney Hudson Jersey ,” Maguire wrote in an article for PlayersVoice. “Whereas the repeat efforts required in rugby league weren’t suited to a bloke of his genetics, the explosiveness needed in the NFL definitely is.
“Short bursts of maximum effort. That’s a great match for him.”
Mailata is confident he can handle the physical elements of the NFL. The tactical and technical side of the game is his focus right now, and he’s dedicated to learning the playbook.
The Eagles list Mailata at 6-foot-8 and 346 pounds, so he’s big but not the biggest player in the league. He would have been the biggest player in the NRL, and that would have made him a big target for defenders.
“I didn’t feel I was too big to play. It wasn’t a self-proclaimed label I gave myself — it was something I was told,” he said. “There were a lot of second-grade contracts up for grabs. Personally, I wanted a full-time contract so I could develop.
“Making the decision to transition was a shot I was willing to take once I was labeled too big to play rugby,” he added. “I laugh at it now.”
The Dallas Mavericks are making another run at DeAndre Jordan Laurent Duvernay-Tardif Jersey , three years after the center jilted them in free agency to stay with the Los Angeles Clippers.
Jordan has opted out of the final year of that contract he signed with LA in 2015, and the Mavericks intend to pursue him as an unrestricted free agent, a person with knowledge of the decision told The Associated Press on Friday.
Dallas also intends to decline the $5 million club option on Dirk Nowitzki’s contract and re-sign him once its salary structure is more settled, the person told the AP on condition of anonymity because the sides are not publicly commenting on moves ahead of free agency opening Sunday.
The move on Nowitzki is designed to create more room under the salary cap, as were the decisions to rescind qualifying offers to shooting guard Doug McDermott and center Salah Mejri, making both unrestricted free agents.
Jordan was set to make $24.1 million under the four-year, $87.6 million contract he signed to stay with the team that drafted him in 2008. Seven years later, the Mavericks made a strong play for Jordan, who agreed to sign with them as a free agent.
The Houston native changed his mind, and the saga played out on social media the day before Jordan could sign. Former teammate Blake Griffin and coach Doc Rivers were part of a contingent that went to his house and stayed with him until the deal was official.
The reversal was a stunning setback for Dallas, which made the playoffs without Jordan the following year but lost in the first round and now is coming off consecutive losing seasons for the first time in nearly 20 years.
Circumstances are much different now, with the former All-Stars who helped persuade Jordan to stay no longer around. Chris Paul engineered a trade to Houston last summer Ronnie Stanley Jersey , and the Clippers shipped Griffin to Detroit in January in a sign that rebuilding years could be ahead.
The Mavericks are two years into their own reconstruction, with 2017 first-round pick Dennis Smith Jr. joined by another player who will begin his NBA career as a teenager in European standout Luka Doncic.
Dallas moved up two spots in the draft last week to get the Slovenian guard, who was taken third overall by Atlanta while the Mavericks selected former Oklahoma scoring sensation Trae Young for the Hawks.
Mavericks owner Mark Cuban refused to accept an apology from Jordan after the reversal, but later said he was moving on and never ruled out acquiring a player despite what was seen as a betrayal. Now the billionaire wants to get the Mavericks back to winning as soon as possible.
Cuban was fined $600,000 last season for public comments admitting the club tanked for better draft picks, but his point was that he was telling his players he wanted to get away from that strategy. A long-term deal for Jordan, who turns 30 in July, would be a strong sign of that.
Jordan, who was second in the NBA at 15.2 rebounds per game last season, shores up an area that has long been a weakness for a franchise that hasn’t won a playoff series since winning its first NBA title in 2011. He averaged 12 points per game last season.
His arrival would be an odd twist for Dallas fans, who booed him steadfastly in each of his five trips to Dallas after that summertime saga. Jordan’s presence also could mean Nowitzki comes off the bench in what is expected to be his record 21st season with the same franchise.
Since the change of heart by Jordan, the most productive center for the Mavericks was their immediate replacement – Zaza Pachulia in 2015-16. Dallas hoped Nerlens Noel could become a significant piece after trading for him at the deadline in 2017. But the sixth overall pick by Philadelphia in 2013 never blossomed.
OAKLAND Nick Boyle Jersey , Calif. (AP) — Jon Gruden has quickly put his stamp on the Oakland Raiders in his second stint as coach.
He’s installed his new systems, overhauled more than half the roster and traded star pass rusher Khalil Mack to Chicago just before the start of the season for draft picks.
Gruden’s quest to get the new-look Raiders back to the level they were at during his first stint that ended in 2001 begins at home Monday night against the Los Angeles Rams. Oakland has had just one winning season in the past 15 years.
“We have not had a lot of success,” Gruden said. “We’ve got to turn this team around. We’ve got to get this team built back to where we can compete for championships. It was that way in 1998 and it’s that way 20 years later. We’ve got to put this train back on the track and we’ve tried to assemble the right guys to get us started. We’ll see where we are on Monday night.”
There is quite a bit of intrigue in what Gruden’s offense will look like in his first game as coach in 10 years. He spent the past nine seasons after being fired in Tampa Bay as the analyst for “Monday Night Football.”
Gruden spent much of the offseason talking about wanting to bring the Raiders back to 1998. He showed almost none of his offense in the preseason, but his former protege and current Rams coach Sean McVay knows to expect the unexpected.
“He’s always done such a good job of mixing it up,” McVay said. “I’m sure he’s got a bunch of new wrinkles that he’s added to his arsenal. It’s going to be exciting, but it is a great challenge, really kind of that element of uncertainty and that does make it very difficult.”
Despite the trade of Mack, Gruden has many of the ingredients he needs for a successful season on offense with Derek Carr at quarterback, a strong interior offensive line, a running game led by Marshawn Lynch and a pair of receivers in Amari Cooper and Jordy Nelson who have shown big-play ability in the past.
Now he gets a chance to show some new wrinkles that he learned by visiting and watching all the other teams as an announcer.
“I feel like he’s more advanced,” said tackle Donald Penn, who played for Gruden in Tampa Bay in 2007-08. “He’s gotten even smarter. That’s crazy to say because he knows so much already Matt Ryan Jersey , but I feel like he’s learned even more during that time off.”
Here are some other things to watch:
TEACHER VS. MENTOR: Gruden hired McVay as a 22-year-old assistant wide receivers coach in 2008 but the ties between the families go back further. McVay’s grandfather, John, hired Gruden’s father, Jim, at Dayton in 1970, and helped Jon get his first NFL job as an assistant in San Francisco in 1990. The younger McVay has taken so much from Gruden that he has many of the same mannerisms and sounds so much like his mentor that Jon Gruden joked he does a better impersonation of him than comedian Frank Caliendo.
“I hear it all the time,” McVay said. “”But I think probably subconsciously you pick up on some of those things just from being around somebody. I got so much respect for him so I take it as a compliment.”
DOMINANT DONALD: While the Raiders cut ties with 2016 AP Defensive Player of the Year Mack after his contract holdout, the Rams gave last year’s top defensive player Aaron Donald a six-year, $135 million deal, with $87 million guaranteed to end his holdout. Donald, perhaps the game’s top interior pass rusher, joins a defense that added three former All-Pros in the offseason in defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh and cornerbacks Marcus Peters and Aqib Talib.
GOFF’S GROWTH: Rams QB Jared Goff took a big step last year after the former No. 1 overall pick struggled in his rookie season in 2016. Goff increased his yards per attempt from 5.3 to 8.0 and his passer rating from 63.6 to 100.5. Goff still sees more room to grow Rodney Hudson Jersey , but didn’t get to show that in the preseason when he didn’t get any snaps because of injuries to the offensive line.
“There’s a bunch of stuff we’ve been working on this offseason that we’re ready to display on Monday night,” Goff said. “A lot of the stuff is from last season that we’re going to continue to do, and then a lot of new stuff that we’re doing.”
DRIVE THE CARR: Carr is looking to bounce back from a down season as he struggled with a back injury and an unimaginative offense by former coordinator Todd Downing. He matched his career high with 13 interceptions and recorded his worst totals in yards, touchdowns and passer rating since his rookie year in 2014. The Raiders hope for a revival under Gruden.
HIDDEN SCHEMES: These teams played just over three weeks ago in an exhibition, although not much can be gleaned from that game. Both teams sat almost all of their starters and showed almost none of the schemes knowing they’d play a game that counts so soon.
“You would think we’d know about them, they would know about us, but all of our starters on both teams were wearing sweatsuits,” Gruden said.
The Atlanta Falcons have bolstered their offensive depth by selecting running back Ito Smith and wide receiver Russell Gage in the NFL draft.
The Falcons traded two seventh-round picks to the Rams for the sixth-round selection used for Gage. Atlanta closed its draft by selecting Yale linebacker Foye Oluokun later in the sixth round.
Smith Chandler Catanzaro Jersey , a fourth-round pick from Southern Mississippi, is expected to back up Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman. The Falcons did not re-sign Terron Ward Jordan Phillips Jersey , who was the team’s No. 3 running back in 2017.
Gage, from Louisiana State Howie Long Jersey , was Atlanta’s second receiver of the draft. The Falcons chose Alabama’s Calvin Ridley in the first round on Thursday night.
The focus shifted back to defense on the draft’s second day, when Atlanta picked Colorado cornerback Isaiah Oliver and South Florida defensive tackle Deadrin Senat.
Detroit Lions running back LeGarrette Blount returned to training camp a day after walking off the field during practice.
Blount declined interview requests Monday.
The Lions are counting on the 31-year-old Blount to help improve their running game Colton Schmidt Jersey , which has ranked among the NFL's worst in recent years.
He helped Philadelphia and New England win the past two Super Bowls. Blount ran for 1,927 yards and 20 touchdowns over the previous two seasons.
Safety Tavon Wilson attended practice Randall Cobb Jersey , but was not in pads with his teammates. It was not clear why Wilson was held out of drills. Defensive lineman Da'Shawn Hand left the field with his right knee wrapped in ice.
Detroit has its first day off during training camp Tuesday.
NEW YORK — When Bryce Harper went down the ground for the second time after being hit by a pitch Tuesday night Patrick Omameh Jersey , the Washington Nationals feared the worst, especially with how much injuries have impacted them.
It turned out there was not a long-term injury to fear for their superstar, just some initial pain.
After getting hit by pitches in the back of the left elbow and on his left foot Tuesday, Harper is expected to play Wednesday when the Nationals conclude their two-game series with the New York Yankees.
“Oh yeah, he’s in there,” Martinez said.
Harper reached base four times, but it was his final two appearances that caused the most angst for the Nationals, who mustered five hits and opened the series with a 3-0 loss.
In the fifth, he dropped to the ground after being hit on the left elbow by CC Sabathia’s 90.1 mph sinker. Three innings later, an 88.8 mph slider from Dellin Betances hit him on the foot and off his big toe, creating some numbness.
“I was really worried Kam Chancellor Jersey ,” Martinez said. “He started walking off the field. The good news is he’s walking off the field, He came in a few minutes ago and said he was fine.”
Harper’s exit occurred on a night when the Nationals tied a franchise record by getting shut out in consecutive games for the 12th time since moving from Montreal following the 2004 season. Their scoreless drought is at 19 innings and they have eight hits in the last two games.
Harper batted third and played right field Tuesday. He batted two spots ahead of Daniel Murphy, who was 0-for-4 with two strikeouts in his season debut after missing the first 63 games recovering from right knee surgery.
Murphy started at designated hitter and will likely do so again Wednesday.
“His timing could have been off,” Martinez said. “I know he’s going to hit.”
The Yankees opened the series by getting two homers from Didi Gregorius, who has three of their 14 multi-homer games this season. Gregorius homered at home for the first time since April 25 and is hitting .286 (10-for-35) in his last nine games after hitting .151 (14-for-93) in 22 games in May.
While Gregorius is starting to rebound from a tough month, Gary Sanchez is in a massive slump and did not start Tuesday. He is not expected to start Wednesday, giving him three days off.
Sanchez is enduring the first significant struggles of his career and spent time figuring a way out of a prolonged slump that has shrunk his batting average to .190, though the Yankees think he will get rolling again.
“The one thing he never loses is his confidence, because he’s such a gifted hitter,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said before the series opener. “He wants to get in there and get it going; he expects to get it going.”
He is hitless in his last 11 at-bats and is 2-for-29 with 10 strikeouts over his last seven games.
Sanchez has yet to heat up in a season when he started 2-for-36 but on May 19-21 he went 4-for-10 in two games, raising his average to a season-high .231. Since those games Justin Britt Jersey , Sanchez is 4-for-53.
“Maybe I’m over-thinking this a little too much, that’s why I’m missing those pitches I usually don’t miss,” Sanchez before Tuesday’s game. “I swung at some pitcher’s pitches. Maybe (I’m a) little bit in between.
“But I feel good. I know if I stay healthy, it won’t reflect what I should be hitting. I’m sure I’ll get through this.”
If Boone started Sanchez Wednesday, it would have been as the designated hitter since Sonny Gray is starting.
During the road trip, Gray allowed one run in 14 innings during wins over Baltimore and Toronto. Against teams with losing records, he is 3-0 with a 1.80 ERA but against teams with winning records, he is 1-4 with a 7.61 ERA in five outings.
Last Wednesday, Gray turned in his first scoreless start since becoming a Yankee when he allowed two hits in eight innings during a game that Yankees won in the 13th.
Gray made two starts for Oakland Athletics against the Washington Nationals. In those outings, he allowed six runs on 10 hits in 14 innings.
Since Jeremy Hellickson and Stephen Strasburg are on the disabled list, Washington has an opening in its rotation for Wednesday and it will be filled by Erick Fedde LaDainian Tomlinson Jersey , who will be called up from Triple-A Syracuse for his second start this season.
Fedde allowed three runs on five hits in 5 2/3 innings as a fill-in starter against the San Diego Padres on May 23. Fedde is 0-2 with an 8.14 ERA in four career starts for the Nationals.
Each effort to inject more clarity into the new helmet rule invites more potential ambiguity to its eventual application.
The latest new item of evidence regarding the broad, possibly revolutionary rule comes from an apparent 11th-hour addition to the new language of the specific provision of the unnecessary roughness rule that relates to helmet use. Of course, that’s not where the rule prohibiting the lowering of the helmet to initiate contact appears; the unnecessary roughness rule generally bans ramming, spearing, or butting with any portion of the helmet, without a requirement that the helmet be lowered or that contact be initiated.
The new language comes in the form of a “note” that apparently was added at some point after the league (incorrectly) cited to Dom Cosentino of Deadspin.com the unnecessary roughness rule as the codification of the new helmet rule. Here’s the full text of the new note: “This provision does not prohibit incidental contact by the mask or the helmet in the course of a conventional tackle or block on an opponent.”
So the new formulation of this specific aspect of the unnecessary roughness rule has removed the prior requirement that the butting, spearing, or ramming be violent or unnecessary, but it has added a caveat that allows incidental helmet contact arising from “conventional” tackling or blocking. Which means that the unnecessary roughness rule for 2018 encompasses non-incidental and/or unconventional use of the helmet, without the lowering of the helmet or initiating contact with it — and without regard to whether the use of the helmet was violent or unnecessary.
This leaves the league’s game officials with a jumbled stew of phrases and clauses that they will try to apply in real time, with consistency Adrian Peterson Jersey , accuracy, and reliability. Amid the unprecedented departure of nearly 25 percent of the league’s referees. With ever-enhancing attention and scrutiny, thanks to the spread of legalized gambling.
In more than three months since the new helmet rule first made its appearance, as an unexpected and unpublished proposal submitted to owners without anyone outside the league knowing about it, multiple coaches and league officials have tried to downplay its eventual breadth and impact. With each additional adjustment to the rulebook, however, it’s become clear that this is indeed a big deal.
And that it has the potential to become an even bigger mess.