Colin Kaepernick collusion case: Teams saw free-agent QB as starter, report says

Multiple NFL teams believed in 2017 that Colin Kaepernick not only was good enough to be on their rosters but also could be their starter, Pro Football Talk reported, citing an unidentified source.

“The deeper question,” Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio writes, “becomes whether Kaepernick and his lawyers can prove coordination among the teams and/or through the league office in connection with the decision to steer clear of Kaepernick based on his role at the forefront of protests that occurred during the national anthem.”

Yes, only $2.275 billion. A full $225 million short of one prominent estimate of $2.5 billion.

On one hand, maybe someone else would have shown up and offered considerably more, now that sports gambling can happen in the 49 states other than Nevada. On the other hand, maybe the purchase price already reflected the likelihood that, one way or the other, gambling was coming.

Ultimately, and as we explained in December when dismissing the speculation about what the price will be, every asset is worth whatever someone will pay for it. When it comes to NFL teams, there’s an asterisk arising from the reality that the rest of the club will have to be willing to welcome the new owner in.

The kickoff has survived after much talk about its possible elimination. The changes approved Tuesday, made with substantial input by coaches, will help determine whether the play has a long-term future.

As to Brady, it’s unclear what it would take to make him happy and to get him to show up for OTAs. And if you hope to plug your fingers in your ears and cry “not listening” or simply shout “fake news!,” the truth is that Organized Team Activities have become the centerpiece of the offseason program, where important work gets done in advance of the work to be done in training camp. If Brady’s not there, he will be behind when he reports.ravens_084

Former NFL cheerleaders’ lawyer pushes for league-wide guidelines

The lawyer for two former NFL cheerleaders told USA TODAY Sports on Thursday that she’s optimistic and encouraged after discussions with the league’s legal representatives.

Sara Blackwell seeks better working conditions for members of teams’ cheerleading squads through the implementation of league-wide guidelines after some clubs have been accused of fostering an environment of harassment and intimidation. Blackwell, who threatened legal action against the league on behalf of her clients, also spoke with an outside lawyer representing the league Wednesday. 

I thought it went really well, Blackwell said in a phone interview. I am optimistic and encouraged by the conversation. Although I think their concern is genuine, we didn’t waive any rights (to file lawsuits) and we still have that right moving forward. I’m very, very optimistic they are coming to the table with the right intentions.

When the Jaguars players realized he wasn’t supposed to be there, they stopped him and held him until police arrived. The man was reportedly booked for burglary, grand theft, and trespassing.

A timely interception if there ever was one for Bortles.

What happens to unsigned rookie if he gets injured in NFL minicamp?

The signees also include two receivers.

Iowa State receiver Allen Lazard is 6 foot 5, 227 pounds, giving Jacksonville size at the position. He caught 231 passes for 3,218 yards and 25 touchdowns in his college career. Carson-Newman receiver Dorren Miller was the other player at the position the Jaguars signed.

The Jaguars also reached agreement with North Carolina State guard Tony Adams, Miami cornerback Dee Delaney, UNLV defensive tackle Mike Hughes, Jacksonville State linebacker Darius Jackson, Marshall defensive back C.J. Reavis, Cincinnati defensive tackle Lyndon Johnson, Vanderbilt cornerback Tre’ Herndon, Miami (Fla.) offensive tackle KC McDermott, Virginia Tech linebacker Andrew Motuapuaka and North Carolina Central linebacker Reggie Hunter.

When the Yankees pieced together a game-tying, four-run rally in the seventh inning on Thursday, the Boston Red Sox saw another late lead disappear.

The fans at Yankee Stadium loved it. The manager in the visitors’ dugout?

Not so much.
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Packers lose another scout, this time to the Jets

The Packers have had a deep bench in the personnel department in the past, but some of that is scattering now.

According to Michael Cohen of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Packers scout Alonzo Dotson is taking a job in the Jets scouting department.

It has been an offseason of change for the Packers front office, beginning with new General Manager Brian Gutekunst taking over for longtime G.M. Ted Thompson.

Then former Packers employee John Dorsey took Alonzo Highsmith and Eliot Wolf with him to Cleveland.

As it relates to Coleman, the change of scenery that would come from a trade could be a welcome development. And so we’ll see whether the Browns get a “decent offer” for his services at some point before training camps open.

Based on Coleman’s first two years, a “decent offer” could be the Browns giving another team a draft pick to take his remaining guaranteed money off the books.

Both the Patriots and the Rams are likely to be awarded two third-round picks next year, according to OverTheCap.com. That’s the best haul of any team.

The Patriots are always smart about getting compensatory picks, which are awarded to teams that lose more free agents, and especially more expensive free agents, than they sign. It’s no surprise to see the atop the list of compensatory picks.

But the Rams’ presence at the top may surprise a lot of people, because the Rams made offseason headlines by attracting a lot of players. How can the Rams get so many compensatory picks after an offseason dominated by headlines about the Rams bringing in big-name players?

The Class of 2011 was incredible: 15 Pro Bowlers selected in the first round, including eight of the top nine picks. Cam Newton, Von Miller, Marcell Dareus, A.J. Green, Patrick Peterson, Julio Jones and Tyron Smith went ahead of Watt.
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NFL Draft 2018: Thunder’s Billy Donovan stops interview to ask Adam Schefter about cornerbacks

Many people are looking forward to the NFL Draft Thursday night on Fox. Even NBA coaches are apparently thinking about the event in the middle of their games.

Thunder coach Billy Donovan had his hands full in a heated Game 5 with the Jazz Saturday night when he did a between-quarters interview with ESPN. Only it wasn’t a typical ESPN reporter on the sideline. It was NFL breaking news man Adam Schefter.

The Oklahoma City coach didn’t let the opportunity go to waste.

The Reds sent 10 batters to the plate for five runs during the sixth inning of a 10-4 win on Monday. They sent nine to the plate for three runs in the second inning on Tuesday. The last time they had nine-batter innings in consecutive games was Aug. 12-13, 2016, against Milwaukee.

Fried was called up before the game from Triple-A Gwinnett to restock a depleted bullpen. Right-hander Miguel Socolovich was designated for assignment.

Fried came on in the 12th. He walked Votto and gave up Gennett’s homer on a hanging curve.

“It was a two-strike curve that was up,” Fried said. “The intent was to get it in the dirt, and I left it up.”

“All of these good things that have happened in the last few weeks, man, he would have enjoyed all of that so much,” Loomis said. “And I think he gets his greatest enjoyment from seeing how the city reacts to those kinds of things. So he’ll be missed.”

The Saints had an incredible Draft class last year, with first-round picks Marshon Lattimore and Ryan Ramczyk joining Marcus Williams and Alvin Kamara as starters. Lattimore and Kamara made the Pro Bowl.

Coach Sean Payton has said there are still a few needs on the roster, but the team usually implements a best-player-available strategy and that should remain the same this year.

Seattle’s James Paxton matched a career high with 10 strikeouts, allowing two runs and five hits in six innings, throwing 100 pitches.

“I felt good and I thought I did some good things, but I was upset with the (three) walks,” he said.

Yonder Alonso hit a two-run homer in the sixth, and the Indians tied the score in the seventh on Kipnis’ RBI double against Marc Rzepczynski and Edwin Encarnacion’s run-scoring single off Altavilla.steelers_062

LeBron James: ‘I’m the last guy to ask’ about coming back in the playoffs

Sunday’s 98-80 loss to the Indiana Pacers put Cleveland Cavaliers superstar LeBron James in an 0-1 hole in the first round for the first time in his career.

But James projected confidence looking ahead to Game 2.

We had some guys in their first time out there playing in this setting, and they definitely … Like I told you guys, you always ask me, ‘Is there anything you can tell them [about the playoffs]?’ Listen, experience is the best teacher, and they got it today, James said. I think everybody is going to be a lot more calm and a lot more precise in what we want to do, too. So it’s definitely a feel-out game. We’ll see what they’re going to do.

The loss snapped a 21-game winning streak in the first round by James’ teams, dating to May 9, 2012, when the New York Knicks beat the Miami Heat in Game 4 of their series.

Jordan Clarkson, making his playoff debut, was 2-for-6 from the field. Rodney Hood, making his first career playoff start, scored seven points on 3-for-7 shooting, but five of those points came in the fourth quarter with the game already out of hand.

Connolly, hoping to reach his intended target, retrieved another puck. He hit the glass, as if to say, It’s for her. The same guy caught it and gave it to the boy on the other side of her. Keelan didn’t know what to do. But Connolly did. He went back and got a third puck, pointed to her, and lofted it over the glass. The third time was the charm. The man finally gave the puck to Keelan, who was overjoyed.

The entire sequence was caught by NBC’s cameras and recapped by the broadcast team.

That father orchestrated that, because only the cute little girl was going to get it, the announcer said — apparently assuming that the man who had caught each puck was the children’s dad. He made sure all three of his kids got a puck.

Before the commentary, it was a cute moment. After the family dynamic was assumed, it went viral.

I know because I tweeted out the NHL’s footage on Monday morning at 9:43 a.m. Since then, the video has been retweeted more than 92,000 times, and has drawn more than 305,000 likes. I’ve tweeted more than 130,000 times since I joined Twitter in 2009 and this is the tweet that has had the most engagement.
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Chris Covington is a sturdy athlete with the requisite athleticism and power to compete for a role in the NFL.

As a converted quarterback who began his collegiate career as a passer, the questions about Covington’s long-term linebacker projection linger. He’ll have to spend a couple of years learning the nuances of the linebacker position before being expected to do too much, but the foundation is there to warrant a look during training camp.

Arizona manager Torey Lovullo felt bad for Marrero.

When I picked my head up, there was some space between the two of them, and I thought that, based on what I heard from the replay guys, Lovullo said. They said there was enough space in there, but there was one angle they were a little uncomfortable with. It’s the first time I’ve seen something like that. Luckily it didn’t impact the game. I felt terrible for Deven. It was his first NL home run.

What is interesting is the variance among guards drafted in the first 10 picks. Three of the 16 became Hall of Famers — an astounding 18.5 pecent Hall of Fame rate, even accounting for the small sample size — and another two became a two-time All-Pro selection (Bill Fralic, No. 2 overall by Atlanta, 1985) and 2015 No. 5 overall pick Brandon Scherff of the Redskins.

Bob McManaman of azcentral recounted the story of Arians suffering a torn rotator cuff in December 2016 due to a celebratory bear hug. In March 2017, the head coach said a get-well card wouldn’t be enough; no, it would take a get-well convertible.

Tight end: Jason Witten turns 36 in May, and 2018 probably will be last NFL season for the future Hall of Famer. Whether Witten hangs it up after this year or next, it’s high time to line up a replasteelers_001cement receiving threat. Gavin Escobar didn’t quite work out five years ago.

If Fox had been able to convince Manning to do Thursdays, then the network had looked into trying to borrow Mike Tirico from NBC. While Buck is the face of Fox Sports’ coverage, he was not in the Manning plan because, on top of all the events he does in the fall, he and his wife, the ESPN sportscaster Michelle Beisner, are expecting twin boys soon.

Gregorius, Yanks aim to continue power display vs. Rays

Padres: C Austin Hedges (back) was a late scratch. … Myers missed the previous game with a bad back.

Rockies: LHP Kyle Freeland would like to duplicate his lone start at Petco Park, which came last year in his rookie season. Although he got a no-decision on May 4, he allowed only one run and three hits in 6 1/3 innings.

Padres: RHP Tyson Ross makes his first start in his second stint with the Padres after spending last year with the Texas Rangers while recovering from a shoulder injury.

The solo shots by a pair of veterans who entered a combined 2 for 21 against the three-time NL Cy Young Award winner supplied enough offense for Zack Godley, who pitched seven effective innings.

I think lefties are still allowed to get hits off him, Descalso said.

Occasionally, anyway.

It’s just the fourth time Kershaw (0-2) has allowed two homers to left-handed hitters in the same game — the previous occasions were multihomer efforts by Washington’s Adam Dunn, Colorado’s Carlos Gonzalez and Cincinnati’s Jay Bruce.

I kind of went through this last year early on against lefties, Kershaw said. I felt I maybe figured some things out towards the end. I made two mistakes and sometimes mistakes stay in the ballpark but tonight they didn’t and it ended up costing us the game.

John Ryan Murphy added a home run off Zach Neal as the Diamondbacks made it two in a row over the Dodgers, following their 15-inning, 8-7 triumph — a 5-hour, 45-minute marathon that didn’t end until the wee hours Tuesday morning.

The Padres trailed 3-2 before Freddy Galvis hit a two-run single in the sixth and Villanueva scored his third run of the night, on a fielder’s choice.

Ross (1-0), who allowed three runs and five hits in six innings, was pitching for the Padres for the first time since opening day 2016. He didn’t pitch again that season and eventually had thoracic outlet surgery. He pitched for Texas last year before returning to the Padres on a minor league deal.patriots_429

Vikings appear to be closing in on Kirk Cousins

The dominoes are falling. Quickly.

With Case Keenum and Drew Brees off the market, the Vikings look to be moving on Kirk Cousins. Mark Rosen of WCCO reports that Cousins will sign with the Vikings. The deal, per Rosen, will average $28 million per year.

With the cap space they have, the Browns are expected to pursue some of the top names, including Trumaine Johnson and Bashaud Breeland.

Two of the most important figures in the history of the New Orleans Saints – quarterback Drew Brees and head coach Sean Payton – will follow Tom Benson’s casket as honorary pallbearers at the deceased owner’s private funeral on Friday. Benson owned the Saints and the New Orleans Pelicans before his death last week at age 90 . Public visitation for Benson occurred Wednesday and Thursday as several former players, coaches, owners, and personnel from around the league came to pay their respects.

Bennett, who was a member of the Seattle Seahawks at the time of the incident, was at the Super Bowl , in part, to watch his brother, Martellus Bennett , who was playing for the Patriots . The three-time Pro Bowler was traded to the Eagles last week at the start of the new league year.

The 10-year veteran could be subject to potential NFL discipline under the league’s personal conduct policy.

This decision is mine alone, and although I know this will not bring me happiness, it is the right and honorable action to take at this time in my life. I cherished every moment of my NFL career, and it has been such a blessing to the game for as long as I have ed. I anxiously look forward to next football season to arrive, but this time with the sole focus of being a great husband and father for my loving family.

The 33-year-old signed with the Jaguars in 2011 and endured the lean years, and then was moved out of the middle on an every down basis when Myles Jack was ready to take over there. He was scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent tomorrow.49ers_181

I believe in myself, Williams told ESPN in a text message.

My best football is ahead of me.

Releasing Williams, a Broncos 2013 first-round pick, saves the Titans a little more than $3 million in salary-cap space while carrying a little more than $2.5 million in dead money salary charge.

One area in which he could make his mark is as a power rusher; the 230-pound Hill is the biggest running back on the Patriots’ roster.

As for the 6-foot-6, 303-pound Tobin, his addition highlights how the Patriots must make contingency plans at left tackle after Solder signed a four-year, $62 million deal with the Giants as one of the NFL’s top free agents.

After entering the NFL as an undrafted free agent out of Iowa in 2013, Tobin has been with the Eagles (2013-16) and Seahawks (2017), appearing in 57 games, with 21 starts.

Tobin joins 2017 undrafted free-agent Cole Croston and 2017 third-round draft choice Antonio Garcia on the Patriots’ depth chart at left tackle.

It’s possible the team could also re-sign two of its backup offensive tackles from last season — LaAdrian Waddle and Cameron Fleming.

ESPN’s Katherine Terrell, Mike Reiss and Vaughn McClure contributed to this report.

He played in four preseason games before being released during final roster cuts.

After two seasons in Cleveland as a wide receiver, including a 1000-yard season in 2016, Pryor regressed in 2017 with Washington, catching just 20 passes for 240 yards in nine games.

Instead, Mathieu was able to survey the landscape and sign where he can enjoy the most team and individual success. Plenty of his NFL colleagues were rolling out the red carpet in hopes of landing the 25-year-old:

Mathieu has the potential to be one of the biggest free-agent signings of 2018 if the Texans get creative with how they use him.The length of the contract mitigates some of the risk they’re assuming with this move as well.
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Steve Kerr, David West have perfect responses to LaVar Ball’s ‘Milli Vanilli’ remark

LaVar Ball continues to make bold statements about NBA coaches.

Speaking to a reporter Monday, Ball was asked about being a coach since he’s now leading his sons’ team in Lithuania. The outspoken father of Lakers rookie Lonzo Ball responded by saying, “coaching is not hard, anybody can be a coach.”

It’s a long shot, though. Outside of post-ups that will be less relevant in the NBA, Bridges hasn’t seen an uptick in his creation responsibilities relative to other play types during his time at Villanova, per Synergy:

Perhaps Ball felt a need to go after Kerr because the Golden State coach previously referred to him as the “Kardashian of the NBA.” In the same breath, Kerr told the media they shouldn’t focus on what Ball has to say because it doesn’t matter.

Kerr and West really took the perfect approach to what Ball had to say. The best response is no response. Kerr didn’t even try to insert a funny punchline — he kept it very simple and short, and he made it clear he had absolutely no interest in entertaining the nonsense.

Werenski put the Blue Jackets up 2-1 at 8:01 of the second when he powered a one-timer through Fleury’s pads from beyond the left circle after a pass from Panarin. The tally by the 20-year-old Werenski was his 13th of the season, a franchise record for defensemen.

Cole made it 3-1 at 9:47 of the second with his first goal as a Blue Jacket after being acquired at the trade deadline. Dubois capped the scoring with an empty-net goal with 2:21 left.

“It’s been tough the last four weeks,” Korpisalo said. “To finally get a win and help the team, it felt good. It’s something I can build on right now.”

Vegas’ leading scorer, William Karlsson, was cheered during first trip back to Columbus after being snagged from the Blue Jackets in the expansion draft. … Vegas F Reilly Smith left the game in the second period and didn’t return after taking a hit from Columbus D David Savard. His condition was not available. … A goal by Dubois at 6:14 in the first period was waved off after a replay determined Cam Atkinson was offside when he carried the puck into the zone. … G Jeff Zatkoff dressed after an emergency recall from Cleveland of the American Hockey League to back up Korpisalo. … lions_086