Aaron Rodgers reiterates plan to remain with Packers into his 40s

As the Packers and quarterback Aaron Rodgers continue to be locked in a mildly awkward standoff over whether and when his contract will be extended, Rodgers recently made it clear that he intends to stay with the Packers beyond his 40th birthday.

Favre brought it on himself by musing about retirement to the point where the Packers picked Rodgers in 2005, three years before Favre was nudged into a short-lived retirement. Rodgers hasn’t, and apparently won’t be, sending similar signals. Which means that, if/when a change is made before Rodgers is ready to retire, it will be the decision of the Packers, and no one else.

So the former home run champ hustled to the airport in Tampa, Florida, hurried to Citi Field and was in such a rush, he didn’t meet his manager until he came off the grass from stretching.

I said, ‘You’re in left field,’ and he said, ‘I got it,’ skipper Mickey Callaway said.

And an hour after joining the Mets, he swung into action.

The Phillies are looking to snap a four-game losing streak in Arrieta’s starts. They’ll face Braves left-hander Luiz Gohara in the series finale.

Gohara is making his first start of the season for the Braves. The 21-year-old started the season on the disabled list with an ankle injury but has made three appearances out of the bullpen in the last two weeks.

The Minnesota Vikings were a win away from the Super Bowl last season. A prevailing thought was they might have been only a player away as well, which they seemingly addressed this offseason with the addition of quarterback Kirk Cousins.

But there was a player already on the roster that would have given the 13-win Vikings more offensive firepower had he been available. Running back Dalvin Cook will be back on the practice field soon enough, however.

Vikings coach Mike Zimmer told NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero that Cook is making great progress in his rehab from the torn ACL that cut short a promising rookie season.

“He’s done really well,” Zimmer said while hosting a football camp in Minnesota for more than 700 kids on Saturday. “He’s ahead of schedule. We’re excited about where he’s at.”

Zimmer said Cook will have limited involvement in organized team activities this week. The Vikings plan to be cautious with Cook this summer but the goal remains for him to be full-go by training camp. ravens_097

2018 NFL Draft: Odds on No. 1 pick, prop bets released for first round

The Browns hold a lot of power at this year’s NFL Draft, and they are exploring every option.

With the No. 1 and No. 4 overall picks later this month, Cleveland has a number of different options. According to oddsmakers, USC quarterback Sam Darnold is the favorite to be drafted with the No. 1 overall pick.

In an effort to look ahead, a BABIP that is 100 points above his career norm (and five points ahead of the 2017 leader) is a clear outlier. And listen, the sheer volume of opportunities is also going to drop. Over 54 percent of Lowrie’s at-bats this season have come with men on base, and while I think this offense isn’t bad, we can’t just overlook the fact that they ranked bottom 10 in at-bats with men on base last season. Lowrie currently sits as the third most valuable second basemen, but I’d be awfully surprised he is anything better than a fringe top-15 option over the next five months.

There have seen a number of reports saying Belichick was growing aggravated with Gronkowski and questioned whether he was “all in” after he reportedly considered retirement to pursue a career in acting.

Gronkowski wrote on Instagram Tuesday he has been working out and staying in shape despite not being a part of the start of Patriots’ offseason program.

“No teams are going to want to start the season on the road for a couple of weeks,” Manfred said. “In fact, the Basic Agreement prohibits a trip that long. Equally important, the domed and warm-weather markets don’t want that many games early in the year. Whether you have a dome or it’s warm weather, until school gets out they are tougher dates. We will do everything possible to try to schedule in a way that minimizes weather damage. It’s in our interest to do that. But there are real limitations in the schedule.”

Manfred’s schedule in Toronto included a meeting with Blue Jays president Mark Shapiro and separate sessions with representatives of team owner Rogers Communications Inc., including chairman Edward Rogers.

Renovations to Rogers Centre, Toronto’s home since June 1989, were among the items on Manfred’s agenda.

“Given the passage of time, the building is probably out of date in terms of the amenities that are available in many of our ballparks,” Manfred said. “While the building is fundamentally sound, I think it needs an update to make it as economically viable as possible.”
steelers_064

Tyler Myers leaves Jets’ game with apparent leg injury

Winnipeg Jets defenseman Tyler Myers left Sunday night’s 6-2 loss to the Wild in Minnesota with an apparent leg injury.

Myers, who scored one of the two Winnipeg goals, went down along the boards after colliding with the Wild’s Marcus Foligno with 4:19 left in the second period.

Myers stayed down on the ice for a minute or two before being helped up and limping to the dressing room.

The Jets lead the first-round Western Conference series 2-1, with Game 4 set for Tuesday night in Minnesota.

Myers scored six goals to go with 30 assists during the regular season, and now he has a pair of goals and an assist in the playoffs.

Maximizing the attention Mitchell commands is a frequent theme throughout the film session. It’s why Bryant harps so much on sprinting all the way to the corner in transition. It’s why Snyder shows Mitchell a possession on which the rookie never touches the ball but affects the play by circling back to the top of the arc while Rubio probes the baseline — “Nashes,” as Snyder calls it — stretching the defense to create room for Gobert to cut for a dunk.

Erin and Gregg Popovich were married while he worked as an assistant coach at the Air Force Academy from 1973 to 1979. Erin’s father, Jim Conboy, was a former athletic trainer for the Falcons.

The Spurs next play Thursday night at home against the Golden State Warriors in Game 3 of their first-round series. It was not immediately known whether their 69-year-old head coach would be with the team, and the Spurs asked that the media respect the family’s privacy.

Warriors forward Kevin Durant learned of Erin Popovich’s death shortly after the Spurs released their statement.

“I just want Pop to know that the whole NBA family is supporting him and got his back through it all,” Durant said. “It’s bigger than the game. It’s bigger than winning and losing. It’s about the brotherhood we built as NBA players and everybody in the NBA family. I feel so bad for Pop and his family. That’s just tough to hear about.”

Cavaliers star LeBron James was informed of the news immediately after his team’s playoff victory in Cleveland.jets_100

Chiefs begin defensive rebuild with Anthony Hitchens

At some point, the Chiefs had to start adding instead of just subtracting on defense.

And it appears they’ve begun that process.

According to Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network, the Chiefs are about to sign Cowboys linebacker Anthony Hitchens to a deal worth $9 million per year.

Oh, that new tattoo? It’s an ankh and the Eye of Horus, he explains. “The key of life. It teaches you positive things about life.”

No doubt, this is a man who has slayed his demons, cleared obstacles.

But as a smoke detector in the house beeps about every 20 minutes and Mathieu insists on asking him anything—”I’m an open book”—it is also clear that inside this man there is a fire burning and a search on. He doesn’t think in terms of what’s been accomplished in the past.

Mathieu searches…and searches…for the rabid Honey Badger within. He had it, lost it, had it and lost it again.

Pierre-Paul, who had 81/2 sacks last season and 581/2 since being drafted with the 15th pick overall in 2010, joins a team that recently signed two members of the Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles, defensive end Vinny Curry and tackle Beau Allen. Former Bears tackle Mitch Unrein also was signed.

Yes, according to Mattingly it is the Steinbrenner theory of always wanting to win.Our training staff and doctors have done a tremendous job.But only 54 percent Against Baltimore, he had two half-bad run plays, one quarterback hit and two quarterback pressures.Lowry and DeRozan’s style of play brought the team all the way to the Eastern Conference finals, making it more daunting than ever for to deviate from the initial plan.

Vulnerable defensively one on one situations against smaller, quicker guards Overall: Burks has excellent upside and the potential to become a fixture someone’s rotation. ..Where two years ago Pouncey went down with a hip injury and instead of signing a Center right away, the Dolphins waited and thought -house solution could be found.Puck retreived by Cam Talbot.At least that’s what he figured that Saturday morning early. Test your placement law knowledge!

That’s the word from Ian Rapoport of NFL Network, who reports that Ngata is visiting the Eagles but might still end up re-signing to remain in Detroit.49ers_164

Playing without injured RB Leonard Fournette, Blake Bortles threw for 326 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions.

The Jaguars are in the playoffs for the first time since 2007, as the first-year combo of head honcho Tom Coughlin and coach Doug Marrone has them at 10-4 after a 45-7 destruction of the Texans. The result, combined with the Titans’ last-second, 25-23 loss to the 49ers, puts Jacksonville one win or one Tennessee loss from the AFC South title.

Bortles was a passenger for much of this season on a Jaguars Express that was fueled mainly by a vicious pass rush and Fournette’s fantastic feet. But in recent weeks, the quarterback has been a more consistent reason for the team’s success.

“He’s been spectacular that way of having me truly understand that sometimes there’s patience in any process of where you’re trying to go as long as you can see the light at the end of the tunnel that it’s something that sometimes you have to go through. He’s been there for me and I really appreciate that.”

Usually, when the Cowboys and Redskins meet in their annual NFC East rivalry, both teams hope it’s for first place in the division. On Sunday outside of Washington, the two teams meet in what can best be described as a survival game.

With the top three offensive linemen off the board, the best value at this point, that satisfies a need, is Moreau. The Seahawks did re-sign cornerback DeShawn Shead, but he’s not a long-term answer. Moreau is the prototypical Seahawks cornerback with 6-foot, 206-pound size and 4.38 speed. He noses out Tre’Davious White and a few others for this spot. Speaking of White . . .

The notion that Giants co-owner John Mara is only now personally signing and returning missives to the fed-up as a matter of damage control is false. In September, after Odell Beckham Jr.’s urination mime, Mara returned dozens of letters, writing that he shares their disgust.

NCAA Builds Character, continued: Tuesday, Youngstown State beat Franciscan 134-46. Youngstown State attempted 33 3-pointers; three Youngstown State reserves played four minutes or fewer.

President Tweet had won the day — a rarity — until he publicly encouraged the three UCLA shoplifters to publicly thank him for bringing them home from China.

GQ magazine’s selection of social activist and Fidel Castro acolyte Colin Kaepernick as Citizen of the Year might’ve made a fleck of sense if Citizen Kaepernick were registered to vote.

29. Aaron Rodgers, quarterback, Packers (29): Rodgers was the rare topic of off-field, offseason conversation this year when his brother went on “The Bachelor” and revealed the two aren’t on speaking terms. Rodgers also remains one of the league’s most watchable quarterbacks, a fact reinforced by his multiple Hail Mary completions last year.nike-youth-cardinals-108

The Jaguars disciplined rookie RB Leonard Fournette and still had no trouble beating the Bengals.

The new regime of front office czar Tom Coughlin and Coach Doug Marrone isn’t messing around. And it is getting results.

Matt Cassel replaced him at quarterback and scored a touchdown on his second drive to trim Jacksonville’s lead to eight points. The Jags answered in surprising fashion, with Marqise Lee throwing the touchdown pass to quarterback Blake Bortles in a role reversal. The Jags missed the extra point, but on the ensuing Tennessee possession, Jalen Ramsey returned a Cassel interception for another Jacksonville score. Tennessee’s playoff chances are looking very dark at the moment.

And in Seattle, wide receiver/kick returner Tyler Lockett made a sensational catch but in doing so suffered a gruesome leg injury that led to his being carted off the field late in the first half of the Seahawks’ game against Arizona. Lockett broke his leg on the play and Coach Pete Carroll said after the game — a 34-31 Seahawks loss — that it will require season-ending surgery. Take a deep breath before watching…

The Jaguars will want to run inside to the left behind left guard Patrick Omameh and center Brandon Linder against the weaker right side of the Patriots’ front. If they choose to run right, they’ll have the benefit of the game’s best run-blocking tight end, Marcedes Lewis, to supplement sturdy right tackle Jeremy Parnell. The kicker will be two-tight sets with James O’Shaughnessy. Against the Steelers, the Jaguars excelled at throwing out of running formations to O’Shaughnessy, fullback Tommy Bohanon and third tight end Ben Koyack.

The Jaguars have different ways to get a helmet on a helmet should the Patriots load up and try to force Blake Bortles to throw. Coach Doug Marrone and offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett adjusted well coming out of the anemic output against the Bills. The running ability of Bortles and the change of pace from Yeldon also can keep the Patriots off-balance.
chargers_084

Utah’s starters combined for just 40 points.

The league also noted an incident during a St. Patrick’s Day parade in Dallas this year, when Elliott pulled down a woman’s shirt, exposing and touching her breast. Although no arrests were made in either episode, the NFL said that “[even] when a player is not charged with a crime, he may still be found to have violated the [personal conduct] policy if the credible evidence establishes that he engaged in conduct prohibited” by it.

“Mr. Elliott and his team of representatives are extremely disappointed with the NFL’s decision,” Elliott’s lawyers said. “The NFL’s findings are replete with factual inaccuracies and erroneous conclusions and it ‘cherry picks’ so-called evidence to support its conclusion while ignoring other critical evidence.”

Yahoo’s Charles Robinson reported that Elliott “is willing to take this whole suspension appeal through courts if he has to.” The proceedings over the league’s punishment could then “drag out a long time,” Robinson noted.

“There were times it looked like we didn’t want to play. Including me,” said Donavan Mitchell, who was held to 13 points by Bazemore.

Battling a hand injury, Prince had hit 7 of 24 shots for 17 points over the last four games. He made 6 of 11 — including a couple of 3s — against the Jazz.

“It’s OK to get tired of yourself sometimes,” Prince said. “You’ve just to work through it. I’ve got to continue to take my shots and continue to play defense.”

Alec Burks came off the bench to lead the Jazz with 17 points.

Polian would probably know, having presided over a 2011 Colts team that tried to replace an injured Peyton Manning by luring Kerry Collins out of retirement (he played three games before a concussion ended his season and career) and then going with Curtis Painter and Dan Orlovsky (who combined to play just eight more NFL games after that season). patriots_045_0c6d6d893c15f4a1-180x180

Can the Steelers afford to pay Bell? That’s where things get dicey.

According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, the deal that almost got Bell to sign on the dotted line last summer was a five-year contract that would’ve averaged $12 million per year with $30 million in the first two years.

That ultimately didn’t get the job done. Bell has previously said he wants $15 million a year — although he backed off that claim — so a number closer to $13 or $14 million per year might be able to get the job done.

It would also remove some offseason drama for the Steelers, make a star happy, and remove the possibility that he leaves or retires.

Pittsburgh doesn’t have much room to work with in 2018, especially after giving Antonio Brown a five-year, $72.71 million deal last February.

“We are all rookies, we are not big-time guys, but they didn’t care.” During a week when the Eagles would go to great lengths to eliminate their own distractions, for the Ronald McDonald House families, the Eagles serve as a welcome one.

Weekly disclaimer: These aren’t your average power rankings and are instead an attempt to measure the current state of mind — or “hope” — for each team and fan base.

The NFL can be an emotional roller coaster, and one big week can shoot a team’s spirits through the roof and tank another’s hopes of finishing with the Lombardi Trophy in February or beyond. Teams near the top are feeling great after Sunday, while those at the bottom aren’t feeling too optimistic.

If you’re looking for a ranking of who would beat who, this isn’t always going to be the best gauge:

Tom Brady came out of the tunnel a man possessed, waving his arms, pumping his fist, getting the crap booed out of him by the Terrible Towelers. “I knew he was going to have a great game,” backup quarterback Brian Hoyer said. “I saw all week how much he wanted this game.”

When Richardson stunned the league seven hours after the SI report by saying he would move to sell the team after the season, the prevailing sentiment in some corners of the NFL was Richardson was trying to beat the posse out of town. If he said he’d sell, the theory went, the league would not sic the investigative dogs on the 81-year-old sports fixture of the Carolinas. Richardson should not assume this, and, in fact, the league needs to make sure it investigates all of its employees and owners equally for this.nationals_010

As the expression goes, Father Time is undefeated. But James is at least making him sweat.

To be clear, James is not quite the player he was at his peak because his defensive value — blocks aside — is not as high. And as he reaches his mid-30s, declining athleticism could finally become an issue for James, particularly if his improved 3-point shooting proves fluky.

Big Ben had little explanation, except to say, “That’s just the AFC North.”

We get it. There are a ton of tough players on the Steelers and Bengals who can take hits and deliver them, Roethlisberger being among the toughest.

But Monday night was a little different from the last time we saw ugliness prevail when Ryan Shazier, Giovani Bernard, Vontaze Burfict and Antonio Brown were all on the same field — in that infamous 2016 AFC wild-card battle.

After Shazier, attempting to tackle Bernard, went down early in the first quarter with a devastating back injury that required him to be taken off the field on a spine board and taken by ambulance to a local hospital, an injury that prompted prayers from players and fans well beyond those in the stadium, you would think the approach of how the teams “took it each other” in the latest heated edition of their rivalry would have changed.

Meanwhile, the Jets seem to have too much scoring talent to fall out. I think the same is true of the Islanders, though they haven’t had the goaltending to make them a more comfortably-projected playoff team.

After that it gets trickier. Right now, only four points separate the top six teams in the Metropolitan Division. It’s still anybody’s division and all six are going to jockey for five playoff spots.

Passing on a quarterback (again) may be tough for Browns fans to swallow, but getting a top offensive tackle and a playmaking defender like Fitzpatrick to go with last year’s draft should excite Cleveland.chargers_028-180x180

The Rams were 4-12 last season and scored just 24 touchdowns in 2016.

The Eagles held a 31-9 halftime lead on the Broncos. It was the first time since 2010 the Broncos had allowed 30 points in a half. Denver has now lost four straight, the team’s first four-game losing streak since that same 2010 season, when the Broncos finished 4-12.

After Sunday’s 51-17 win over the Giants, the Rams (6-2) already have 27 touchdowns this season and are the NFL’s highest-scoring team.

“My music selection is pretty aggressiveness with the softness,” a jovial Newton quipped.

The Panthers (7-3) now enter their bye week and Newton said he’ll use the time off to take cupcakes and pizza to his daughter’s school and get some family pictures taken.

Joe Ingles, Utah Jazz (38.5): Found at No. 20 among small forwards on the Player Rater during the past two weeks, Ingles offers a helpful blend of dimes — at least four in five of his past six games — and clean shooting production (47.1 percent from beyond the arc).

Things didn’t change for the better against a much-improved New England defense, as Carr managed to throw for only 237 yards and tallied only 13.5 fantasy points against the Patriots.

So what is the problem? A big part of it is subpar pass blocking. Oakland ranked 21st in Week 11 in ESPN Stats & Information’s pass pressure rate (PPR) metric that measures how often a defense gets pass rush pressure on a quarterback. nike_bills-111