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NHL Hockey News

Rob Gronkowski Jersey groin injury is probably not serious, but the Patriots will test it anyway

Rob Gronkowski left the field in the third quarter of Sunday’s game with the Saints after suffering a groin injury. The All-Pro tight end landed awkwardly after being tackled at the end of a 21-yard reception and walked gingerly off the field. He was later taken to the sideline injury tent for evaluation.

He did not return to the game, but afterward he said he was fine:

He didn’t just honor Moss with his dance. Diggs is also wearing some dope custom cleats that depict Moss mooning Green Bay Packers fans at the 2005 NFC Wild Card game.

The touchdown gave the Vikings a 10-3 lead over the Saints. But Diggs wasn’t done. If you have him on your fantasy team, congratulations, because he got in the end zone again. This time, he celebrated by trying to punt the ball right out of the stadium.

Unfortunately for Diggs, his second celebration cost him a Phil Dawson Youth Jersey cool $6,076. There are more relaxed celebration rules this year, but punting a ball to the moon still falls in the no-no category.

Believe it or not, only two players in Vikings history have scored two touchdowns in a season opener. It’s Diggs, and guess who else?

Two teams with big questions behind center meet at 8:30 p.m. ET Prince Amukamara Youth Jersey Thursday in Cincinnati (TV: NFL Network, NBC in Houston and Cincinnati markets) with hopes of turning around a gruesome start to their 2017 seasons. The Bengals and Texans each got underwhelming performances from their quarterbacks Sunday, and somehow the worst showing wasn’t from a career backup or rookie passer, but veteran Pro Bowler Andy Dalton.

Packers’ Ha Ha Clinton-Dix shifts blame away from Dom Capers … kind of

The Packers’ defense, which gave up 44 points in an NFC championship game loss and allowed 24.3 points per game in 2016 (21st in the NFL) is an easy target for offseason criticism.

Brown continued: “Domestic violence is not just physical abuse. We’re talking intimidation and threats, the attempt to control, body language. An abuser is going to abuse to a certain degree to acquire some kind of a reaction.”

During Roger Goodell’s press conference Wednesday, he briefly touched on the subject of Brown. He confirmed that there was still an ongoing investigation into his case.

“We do have an active investigation on Josh Brown,” Goodell said. “You know from last fall that we didn’t have all of the information from law enforcement. They released some of that at a later date. We now have that information, and we will continue that investigation. Until we have a final decision, we won’t be making any decisions about anyone’s eligibility on that front.”

Marshall has never been one to mince words about his playing potential. Before this season Marshall bet Steelers wideout Antonio Brown that if he had more total yardage at the end of the season, he wanted Brown’s Rolls-Royce. If Brown was the winner, he would snag Marshall’s Porsche.

Brown easily had more yards (1,284) than Marshall’s 788, and in fact so did the Jaguars’ Marqise Lee (851), Cowboys’ Cole Beasley (833) and even Cardinals running back David Johnson (879).

Marshall has had to contend with the likes of quarterbacks Geno Smith, Bryce Petty and Ryan Fitzpatrick, who he lobbied the Jets to re-sign this past season. Moving forward, Marshall is done trying to influence the Jets’ front office.

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Falcons guard Hugh Thornton announces retirement at age 25

After battlng ankle, knee and shoulder injuries during his first four NFL seasons, Hugh Thornton has decided to walk away while he still can.

The offensive lineman has decided to retire from the NFL at the age of 25, and less than two months since joining the Falcons as a free agent.

The Falcons announced his retirement on Tuesday.

During halftime of that game, the team will also induct Manning into its Ring of Honor. The day before, a statue of Manning will be unveiled outside of Lucas Oil Stadium in a ceremony.

Seven previous Colts players have had their numbers retired: Johnny Unitas (19), Buddy Young (22), Lenny Moore (24), Art Donovan (70), Jim Parker (77), Raymond Berry (82) and Gino Marchetti (89).

“I am humbled, and I am grateful to Jim and the Irsay family for this tremendous honor,” Manning said.

Manning spent the first 13 seasons of his NFL career with the Colts, leading them to victory in Super Bowl 41. After several neck surgeries, he was released only to be scooped up by the Broncos for his final four NFL seasons.

He won Super Bowl 50 with Denver, making him the only starting quarterback in NFL history to lead two different teams to Super Bowl victories.

The Rams hired a young offensive hotshot as their coach, but that person was Sean McVay. The Bills went with a well-respected longtime defensive coordinator, but it was Sean McDermott. The 49ers, Broncos and Chargers went in different directions with their new head coaches.
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Both teams came into the new league year with obvious needs.

If the boards falls like this, I have no idea what the Seahawks would do. There are a decent number of players still available who I would like to see them draft here, as well a few I’d just go nuts for, including Jordan Willis, who I was very close to taking before ultimately deciding Davis was too good to pass up at 58. The insane thing being that neither of these guys are corners, I took a tackle in Round 1, and Seattle fans reading this are probably cursing my name in ways that their parents would not be proud of.

Unless their parents were also Seahawks fans, in which they’d be saying the same curse. The fact of the matter is that while there are some decent corners left on the board — Jourdan Lewis, Ahkello Witherspoon, Shaquill Griffin — (they’ve met with all three of those guys), none are on the level of Davis and Willis athletically and as football players. Not yet, at least. (The “football players” part, because this athleticism can’t be taught.)

This year, the plan for both teams is to find help for their young quarterbacks to reach their full potential. They got a head start in free agency, and now the Rams and Eagles can further work to fix their weaknesses in the draft.

Both teams came into the new league year with obvious needs. The Rams had offensive line problems last season that hindered Goff’s growth. For the Eagles, Wentz’s best receiver dropped too many passes, and his No. 2 receiver simply wasn’t good.

On the first day of free agency, both teams addressed those areas. This week, those steps can turn into to greater strides with the right moves in the NFL draft.
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The Knicks are keeping Phil Jackson for some reason

Welcome to the calm before the storm. The 2017 NBA Playoffs begin Saturday at 3 p.m. ET as the defending champ Cavaliers host the Pacers, followed by three more games in rapid succession. We’ll get four more on Easter. But for now, we preview, we predict, we wait.

The Tigers have won four conference titles in 101 football seasons, but 10 years after a 1992 Division II playoff bid, they jumped to I-AA/FCS. They’ve averaged 1.5 wins in the years since. It’s perpetually the country’s most daunting rebuild. (Other SSU sports have had some more highlights, such as the baseball program and the greatly improved men’s basketball program.)

Most historically black colleges have faced resource disadvantages for decades, and though movements like the Celebration Bowl and Grambling State’s renewal are restoring hope on the field, Division I is a high bar for plenty of smaller schools of all kinds.

The Aztecs romped to 9-1 and beat conference foes SJSU, Utah State, Hawaii, and Nevada by a combined 183-32. They fell asleep a bit, with a division title in hand, and lost via last-minute pass at Wyoming, then got creamed by a smoking hot Colorado State.

To their credit, though, they rallied. They went back to Laramie and beat Wyoming in the MWC title game, then dismantled Houston in the Las Vegas Bowl, a mid-major showcase. Houston gained 74 yards in a 10-play scoring drive in the first quarter; beyond that, they gained 180 in 60 plays, and SDSU scored the last 34 as Pumphrey broke (sort of) the all-time FBS rushing record. It was a valedictory moment for the seniors who’d broken SDSU into the Group of Five’s upper echelon. Now we see if it can stay there.
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Center Chris Myers can still execute run-game reach blocks like a champ

Sean McVay’s first offseason as a head coach has introduced him to TMZ (which published a story about the house he bought) and made sure to avoid one of his predecessor’s most avoidable mistakes by linking up with one of the franchise’s living legends.

The Geno Smith era could be the next step after Eli Manning decides to call it quits.

“[Smith] has a compact throwing motion, you like his profile, he has a quick release, gets it out of his hand, a ton of arm strength, he’s mobile so it will be interesting,” Giants coach Ben McAdoo said.

Despite what we’ve been conditioned to think, an ACL is still a ridiculously serious injury with career-threatening implications. Despite all the money and production value that’s pumped into public perception about the modern NFL player being a mutant who can self-heal like a superhero by sleeping in a hyperbaric chamber and trusting the steady hand of a celebrity surgeon, an ACL tear still usually requires a two-year total recovery.

The fact that the Redskins have a capable, aw-shucks backup in Kirk Cousins is great in the event of an injury for one game, but having a somewhat capable backup QB has actually created more controversy than it has solved. That’s how stupid this whole mess is: you’d almost rather have Grossman and Beck backing RGIII up for nothing else than just to avoid hearing the opinions of idiots.

Center Chris Myers can still execute run-game reach blocks like a champ, but the rest of the line is struggling to meet the standards of seasons past with right tackle Derek Newton and left guard Wade Smith having significant issues in the run game.
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Two of his touchdown passes had an equal chance of being interceptions

Foles followed up his seven-touchdown performance last week by throwing three scores in a win over the Wallace/Tolzien Packers. He finished the game 12-for-18 with 228 yards and no interceptions. In fact, he hasn’t thrown an interception all year in seven games and 136 passing attempts.

The second-year quarterback isn’t throwing the ball anywhere near the volume you’d expect if Andy Reid had somehow figured out how to push the Eagles over the hump while wandering through the desert. But the numbers are there. He’s got a total of 16 touchdowns, 1,256 yards, no interceptions and 9.2 yards per attempt.

Don’t get too carried away about Foles. Luck was on his side this week. Two of his touchdown passes had an equal chance of being interceptions. He threw into double coverage on his 55-yard touchdown pass to DeSean Jackson. The ball got tipped, and it ended up in the receiver’s hands.

The Lions picked up a crucial road win over the Bears on Sunday to take a one-game lead over Chicago and Green Bay. Until the Packers get Aaron Rodgers back, it’s really going to be tough for them to keep pace in the North. The Cowboys’ loss dropped them back to .500, but since they won in Philadelphia earlier in the season, they hold the advantage over the Eagles. The Cowboys and Eagles won’t play again until Week 17.

Kelly’s Eagles have the distinction of being the most watchable team in the NFC East this year, unless you enjoy watching the Cowboys go through their usual series of self-inflicted wounds. In fact, Philadelphia and Dallas, at 5-5, are tied for the division lead. You don’t need mescaline to think that Foles’ best game of the season might still be ahead of him with the Cowboys secondary on the calendar for Week 17.

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Patriots acquire TE Dwayne Allen and a sixth-round pick from the Colts for a fourth-round pick.

There was a time when Allen looked like he could be one of those rare tight ends who could block and be a matchup threat, but he’s mostly been a disappointment since his rookie season. In New England, he’ll be a role player, replacing the departing Martellus Bennett as the second tight end on the roster, behind Gronk.

Whoever said fullbacks were irrelevant would be really confused by all the road graders getting scooped up on Wednesday. DiMarco is the blocker, and the Bills committed $8.5 million for a four-year deal with him. Tolbert’s deal is a one-year, $1 million flyer, so it’s not like they’ve tied up a bunch of money in two hulking backs.

Buffalo’s running game has LeSean McCoy to be the speedy home run threat. Now, they have some hosses for the short-yardage power side of the equation.

Michigan entered this game as one of March’s hottest teams, overcoming no less than a plane accident to win the Big Ten title. In the NCAA tournament’s first round, the Wolverines then beat No. 10 Oklahoma State in a barnburner of a game, 92-91, and suddenly they appeared set to run deep into this year’s Big Dance. Michigan shot so well this year that Rick Pitino compared them to the Golden State Warriors, in fact.

Michigan has averaged just 6.3 turnovers per game this season, and it gave up just three in the first half. Louisville, on the other hand, is averaging 11 turnovers per game this year and coughed up six in the first half. Still, the Cardinals’ defense clamped down, holding the Wolverines’ vaunted shooters to just 37 percent from the field and a meager 27 percent from three point range. Louisville also destroyed Michigan on the boards in the opening frame with a 24-16 rebounding advantage.

Now, the Wolverines await the outcome of Sunday night’s matchup between Oregon and Rhode Island. Michigan is the story of this year’s Dance in the early going.21

McCarthy has shown little aptitude for handling his team’s fourth-quarter decisions

McCarthy has struggled with game management in key situations during previous playoffs. As I wrote about on Sunday, McCarthy has shown little aptitude for handling his team’s fourth-quarter decisions, particularly as an underdog.

Against the Seahawks two years ago, McCarthy kicked twice on fourth-and-goal from the 1-yard line in the first quarter, then clung to a bizarre emphasis on the number of carries his team should have in the second half in an attempt to hold on to the lead.

Then, last season in the divisional round of the playoffs, he followed Aaron Rodgers’ miraculous Hail Mary on the road in Arizona by kicking the extra point to go into overtime in lieu of attacking a stunned Cardinals defense for a game-winning two-point conversion try. His team never touched the ball again.

The “Brotherhood” seems to be on a mission this season, as Quinn has established a winning mentality in everyone on the roster. Ryan might be adamant about “blocking out the noise” regarding his inability to reach a Super Bowl, but you can bet that some of the negativity has fueled him up to this moment.

This game could be a shootout, indeed, but the Falcons prevail behind Ryan’s arm and his running backs’ legs. The defense will hold up just enough, relying on the blazing speed of rookie linebacker Deion Jones and Beasley and the physical play of rookie safety Keanu Neal to come up with some key stops. Falcons 35, Packers 31

The one other concern with Tomlin is that he may get carried away with challenges, although that’s less of a concern under the league’s modern rules. He made a terrible mistake with challenges earlier in his career during a playoff game against the Ravens in 2010.

So what do we do with an individual goal such as Chapman’s?

This isn’t as clean as we’d hoped. There are enough LOLs — more than a third of the outcomes — that we have to take seriously the possibility that we shouldn’t take the player’s demands (or his agent’s demands, or the second-hand telephoning of his supposed demands) seriously. Most day-to-day human interaction depends on our faith that people Matt Kalil Authentic Jersey aren’t outright lying to us, that the waiter isn’t copying down our credit card number so he can steal our identity, that the cop is a cop, that I really did put together this spreadsheet that I keep claiming to be working off of, that our mom really does love us. If a third of these players are seeking something totally unrealistic, it causes something close to a crisis of confidence in the whole thing.

On the other hand, the majority of these asks — nearly two-thirds — are perfectly reasonable, either as legitimate targets or as honest positions in a negotiation process.

Realistically speaking, not every free agent can land in either dream scenario; after all, there are only eight field positions and five rotation spots per team. If you closely examine each player’s skill set, however, there are destinations that can maximize any free agent’s fantasy potential, even when limiting the choices to only those that have a reasonable possibility of happening.

Today, let’s have some fun predicting such dream arrangements for some of the game’s top free agents — again, only those that have a reasonable possibility of happening. You can see all of Keith Law’s top 50 free agents right here, though not every one has a preferred destination selected below.

You’ll notice that the top free-agent closers — Kenley Jansen, Aroldis Chapman and Mark Melancon — are excluded from the list. There’s a reason: They’re all highly likely to land closer roles for 2017 wherever they wind up anyway, resulting in similar fantasy value to what they enjoyed in 2016.

Edwin Encarnacion: Houston Astros.

Remaining in Baltimore might ultimately be Trumbo’s most favorable fantasy arrangement, but Toronto’s Rogers Centre is really no less friendly a power environment for a right-handed hitter. In the event that both Bautista and Encarnacion depart, Trumbo could Michael Harris Authentic Jersey find his way into enough playing time at both first base and right field to earn dual eligibility, which would be a nice little addition.

Ian Desmond: Toronto Blue Jays.

Once again, staying put might be the best arrangement for Desmond, but a move to Toronto could improve his chances at recapturing the shortstop eligibility that he lost in Texas in 2016. Should injury-prone Troy Tulowitzki miss extended time, Desmond would be a logical fill-in, and he’d likely maintain much of his counting-numbers appeal as a high-in-the-order hitter for the Blue Jays.