The NBA MVP race still has many chapters left to play out

Kawhi Leonard drew some fresh heat in the NBA MVP race this week after a masterful two-way performance against the Rockets and their MVP candidate James Harden. This isn’t to say that Kawhi is a sudden MVP candidate, just that his candidacy reached a fever pitch this week.

One night later, Russell Westbrook put up 58 points in vain as the Thunder lost their fourth straight. Make no mistake: Oklahoma City lost in spite of Westbrook. The Thunder won the 35 minutes Russ was on the court and badly lost the 13 he sat.

Zero. Zilch. Nada. As many goals as I have in my NHL career. Forget Patrik Laine vs. Auston Matthews or the Blue Jackets’ historic win streak. When all is said and done, Riley Sheahan’s goal drought might be the most amazing stat to come out of the 2016-17 NHL season.

How rare is it? Only 21 players in NHL history have played at least 60 games without a goal. And Sheahan is about to become the guy with the most shots and no reward in NHL history.

Sheahan’s season is so bad, so perplexing, that the Red Wings seriously considered just moving on from him at the trade deadline. Remember, he’s just 25 years old. He might’ve been the best buy-low player on the market.

TSN held a segment called “Is Ho-Sang wearing 66 disrespectful?” Blogs primed themselves for debate.

Never mind the fact that billions of players have worn Gordie Howe’s 9. Or Yzerman’s 19. Or Sakic’s 19. Nobody seemed angry when five other players wore number 66.

But Ho-Sang was the lightning rod that required this “respect” discussion to happen. Here’s a list of players who’ve had that “respect” debate follow them early in their careers: P.K. Subban. Evander Kane. Nail Yakupov. All players of color or Europeans. Hmm. Interesting. Surely a coincidence, and not a deeper cultural issue buried even deeper than the sport’s team-first culture.1

The procedure is a minor one for Jones and won’t affect his training camp availability

Tom Brady’s humble NFL beginnings long ago entered gridiron lore. If his backstory is unfamiliar to you, you’re likely a visitor from another planet.

If you are indeed an alien: The man now widely recognized as the greatest quarterback of all-time began his career as a pro football afterthought, a sixth-round draft pick. There were 198 players selected before the Patriots picked Brady, a small village that included six fellow quarterbacks.

The Warriors had planned to sign Jose Calderon for the remainder of the season, but will instead sign then waive him in order to make room for Barnes.

Barnes, 36, was a member of the Warriors from 2006 to 2008. He’s averaging 8.2 points and 4.6 rebounds over his 14-year NBA career.

The procedure is a minor one for Jones and won’t affect his training camp availability, Rapoport was told.

Trubisky, the top-rated quarterback on NFLDraftScout.com’s board, threw the ball well, showing the efficient set-up and delivery, smooth throwing stroke and accuracy that belies his 13 career starts.

Texas Tech’s Patrick Mahomes II and California’s Davis Webb also fared well in the afternoon quarterback session. Like Watson, Mahomes and Webb were each surprisingly smooth in their drops despite playing their entire careers in Air-Raid spread offenses. Mahomes has an absolute rocket for an arm and showed good trajectory on the deep ball and post-corner. He does have a three-quarters delivery that will be a concern for some, especially given that he measured in at “only” 6-foot-2.

Webb created buzz at the Senior Bowl and built upon that momentum Saturday. He was especially impressive on the deep dig routes, hitting receivers in stride on the throw some feel is the toughest quarterbacks are asked to complete in Indianapolis because it requires timing with receivers they’ve just met.1

Tom Brady shared words of encouragement for everyone at the NFL Combine

The NFL Scouting Combine isn’t just a time for prospective players to show off their skills, it’s also a time to remember. Tom Brady did just that on Friday.

Brady wore his combine shirt from 2000 during a workout and used it as an opportunity to poke fun at the people who doubted him. Here’s what the Patriots quarterback wrote on Instagram.

National Letters of Intent are binding documents that tie prospects and schools together. But they’ve also got stipulations which can empower a school to get out of an NLI if a player gets into trouble before his enrollment.

Ole Miss, for its part, has bigger problems than this one. Our Rebels blog, Red Cup Rebellion, doesn’t think Reed’s departure changes a whole lot:

Most believed that the 6’4, 295-pound Reed was going to be a sign-and-place candidate anyway, so it was going to be at least a year before he was donning the red and blue. But with Fadol Brown, D.J. Jones, and John Youngblood gone, Ole Miss faces a potential shortage of depth on the D-line.

Kliff Kingsbury isn’t letting his players wear Texas Tech’s logo inside the team’s facility. This should improve Tech’s nation-worst defense by at least 0.2 points per game.

“It’s a lot of goals and I’m still a long way off but Shearer was an idol of mine growing up, to see how many goals he scored was incredible. I take it season by season. I don’t like looking too far ahead because you never know what can happen.”

Now, however, the Premier League has become a crowded place for superstars. Kane is jostling for attention with Sergio Aguero, with Romelu Lukaku, and with whichever vastly expensive import rolls up next. Still, it’s the numbers, in the end, that speak loudest of all. And right now, Kane’s numbers are precisely where they need to be: excellent, with the potential to become extraordinary.1

Brandon Marshall, Alshon Jeffery both active for fantasy owners on Monday night

Chicago Bears wide receivers Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery are both active for Monday night’s game against the New York Jets.

Both players are dealing with injuries and were limited in practice, but neither was expected to miss this game despite being listed as questionable. Marshall has an ankle injury and Jeffery is recovering from a hamstring ailment. They were game-time decisions in Week 2 but ended up playing against the San Francisco 49ers. Marshall went off for three touchdowns, while Jeffery was held to 47 yards on three catches.

Rudolph had three receptions for 27 yards before going down on the Vikings’ final drive against the New Orleans Saints on Sunday.

“Something popped,” Rudolph told the Pioneer Press after the 20-9 loss. “I’ve been battling it for a while.”

Rudolph shed weight during the offseason to increase his speed and stay healthy after he missed the final eight games of 2013 with a broken foot. That, in addition to his Pro Bowl 2012 season, was enough to convince the Vikings to hand him a five-year contract extension in July.

Despite the high expectations, Rudolph has been unable to make a significant impact on offense. He has just seven catches for 69 yards through three games, though he did find the end zone in the opening win against the St. Louis Rams.

“We decided [not to investigate] because it had been elevated to a felony. It was very clear to us that they were going to get any piece of information they wanted. They have the power to get anything they want.”

“I feel regretful because in my heart of hearts if we had gotten the tape early on in the Spring and Roger had seen it, I think it would have been a precedent-setting, multi-game suspension or maybe indefinite.”1

Bills vs. Texans 2014 picks and predictions: Houston earning confidence from experts

The Houston Texans (2-1) are picked by many to beat the Buffalo Bills (2-1) Sunday afternoon at NRG Stadium. Both teams enter 2-1 after a taste of defeat from Week 3, with Houston falling to the New York Giants while the Bills lost at home to the San Diego Chargers.

Buffalo has been aided by turnovers, currently tied for the fourth-best differential at +4. The Bills have only committed one turnover, an EJ Manuel interception. Manuel has been cautious when throwing, leading to ball control but also a limited pass attack. The Bills rank 28th in the NFL with 191.3 passing yards per game.

The Giants’s secondary has done its job, holding Washington quarterback Kirk Cousins to just 89 yards and one touchdown through the air. Meanwhile on offense, the Giants are rolling in all phases of the game with 150 yards passing and 48 yards on the ground.

New York has struggled mightily on defense through three games and is looking to turn things around. If the Giants are without Rodgers-Cromartie for an extended period, that’s going to prove more difficult as they navigate the high-powered offenses of the NFC East.

The Giants currently lead Washington, 21-7, as the first half is coming to a close.

Washington cannot afford to lose any more players on offense as quarterback Robert Griffin III went down with a severe ankle injury in Week 2. Williams has made the Pro Bowl in each of the last two seasons and hasn’t missed a game since becoming a full-time starter.

The 26-year-old out of Oklahoma is an important piece of the offensive puzzle for Washington as it tries to sort out its woes at quarterback. Kirk Cousins is in the midst of his worst game as a professional after throwing four interceptions through three full quarters of action.

On the other side of the ball, DeAngelo Hall is out for the season after rupturing his Achilles. Another injury to a major player would be devastating.1

Manfred said starting runners on second base in extra innings sounds unlikely to be implemented in the majors

In addition, MLB likely can alter some video review rules without the union’s agreement — such as shortening the time a manager has to call for a review.

“Most of this stuff that they were talking about I don’t think it would have been a major adjustment for us,” Royals manager Ned Yost said.

Manfred said starting runners on second base in extra innings sounds unlikely to be implemented in the majors. The change will be experimented with during the World Baseball Classic and perhaps at some short-season Class A leagues. Manfred said it was a special-purpose rule “beneficial in developmental leagues.”

Brewers manager Craig Counsell, who spent 16 seasons in the major leagues as a player, told ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick that he hopes the league and the union continue to have a dialogue over ways to enhance the entertainment value of the game without making too many drastic changes.

Fitzgerald will be 34 this fall, and while he led the NFL in receptions (107), his career-low 9.6 yards per catch was a testament to both how the Cardinals used him and how Carson Palmer’s skills had declined behind center. The veteran wideout was targeted much closer to the line of scrimmage than in years past, in part to serve as his quarterback’s safety blanket in a disappointing season. Palmer’s QB rating dropped from 104.6 to 87.2 as he played out his age-36 season.

While those numbers and his age raise some red flags for the Patriots, New England would be thrilled to have the future Hall of Famer on the roster. Head coach Bill Belichick has often raved about Fitzgerald, even using him as the measuring stick by which other wideouts are compared.

Fitzgerald wouldn’t be a home run, but he’d be another solid hit for a franchise that’s piled up free agent and trade victories en route to a dynasty. The only question here is whether he’d be willing to leave the only NFL franchise he’s called home — and whether the cost would be low enough for the notoriously stingy Patriots to bite.235000253135345325-C201-1

I love playing against Clemson when I face Grady Jarrett.

I asked South Carolina guard A.J. Cann which NFL player he looks to emulate, and he mentioned Tennessee guard Chance Warmack. “I became friends with [Chance] a while back and ever since then I have been watching his game and just looking at him play.” Warmack was also known as a “pure” guard and a mauler in the phone booth, and went 10th overall in 2013.

As for Colorado State tackle Ty Sambrailo? “I watch a lot of Joe Staley, I’m from the Bay Area, and he came out kinda when I was starting to play tackle. He’s always been a great player. He’s fun to watch. Athletic, technician, great feet.”

South Carolina’s A.J. Cann: “I love playing against Clemson when I face Grady Jarrett. I think he’s a very good player. He’s a smart player and he’s very physical. He gives it all he’s got every time, and I love playing against guys like that. We had battles all the time.”

LSU OL La’el Collins: “Game planning against a guy like Dante Fowler, somebody who is an extremely good pass rusher, somebody who can cause problems. So being able to look at him and break down film on him, understanding his moves and what he likes to do and being able to compete against him is nice, against that caliber guy.”

Iowa OL Andrew Donnal: “Both at guard and at tackle I’ve faced some pretty good guys. What comes to mind is both the bowl games. I played against some good guys against LSU and Tennessee, against some good defenders. And in Big Ten play, every week’s a battle. There’s no real days off, which is a good thing, says a lot about the conference.”

Paying off bet, Zoo Atlanta names cockroach after Tom Brady

More than a week after the Falcons fell victim to the biggest comeback in Super Bowl history, an Atlanta zoo has named a cockroach after Patriots quarterback Tom Brady.

Tom Brady says he doesn’t have a problem if some of his teammates decide not to go to the White House to celebrate New England’s Super Bowl LI victory.
Zoo Atlanta says on its Facebook page that it had a bet with Rhode Island’s Roger Williams Park Zoo that called for the loser to name a baby animal after the winning team’s star quarterback. Both zoos figured the loser would be pretty bitter about the game, so they agreed the animal in question would be a Madagascar hissing cockroach.

The zoo introduced a whole family of cockroaches in a video Monday, including a tiny Tom Brady.

Brady and the Patriots came back from a 25-point deficit to defeat Atlanta 34-28 in overtime to win the team’s fifth Super Bowl title.

The Chargers likely would be unwilling to match that kind of deal.

The franchise tag is a labor designation that restricts a player’s potential movement in exchange for a high one-year salary. It is governed by owners and players through the collective bargaining agreement.

There are two types of designations, exclusive rights and non-exclusive. The exclusive-rights franchise tag designation means a player is bound to the team for the upcoming season. A player’s agent is prohibited from seeking offer sheets elsewhere.

The amount earned is the average of the five largest salaries at the player’s position through the end of the current year’s restricted free-agent signing period (April 21 this year), or 120 percent of the player’s salary the previous year — whichever is greater.

The drive that led to Vinatieri’s kick included so many memorable plays

Vinatieri’s 48-yard field goal with no time left started the Patriots’ dynasty. Keep in mind that in 2001, NFL place-kickers converted 46.8 percent of 48-yard attempts. Vinatieri had converted only 58.3 percent of attempts between 40 and 49 yards. The win probability model accounted for the indoor environment of the Superdome, and at the worst the Patriots were going to overtime with the Rams. But in those days, it was a relatively low-percentage attempt.

The drive that led to Vinatieri’s kick included so many memorable plays, but the Patriots’ win probability swung most dramatically after Brady’s 23-yard pass to Troy Brown. The play put the ball at the Rams’ 36-yard line, nearly in Vinatieri’s range, with 29 seconds remaining. It was the first time during the drive when the Patriots had a better than even chance to win.

Once Colin Kaepernick opts out, San Francisco will have no quarterbacks under contract. That’s a bold strategy. Let’s see how it works out for them. The first order of business for new coach Kyle Shanahan and new general manager John Lynch: Find a quarterback. This is why they were smart to get six-year contracts.

Good question, Alex. I just wasn’t wearing one the day of the photo. I seem to recall it being really hot outside. Probably a good thing I went sans tie because neck sweat from having your dress shirt buttoned all the way to the top is the absolute worst. You can’t hide that with a suit coat. Maybe ESPN will update our glamour shots in the spring. But I doubt that’s high priority at the network!

Garrett attended the show at the College Football Hall of Fame in Atlanta and spoke to an ESPN social media producer, who asked whether there was a specific team he might want to join in the NFL. His answer was “100 percent supposed to be fun,” the producer said.

Soccer Icon Pelé Sues Samsung in Chicago

A Chicago jury previous yr awarded Michael Jordan $nine million right after grocery chain Dominick’s utilised his likeness to hawk steaks. Now another planet-famous athlete will appear to Chicago to get paid for what is becoming known as an uncompensated endorsement.

Soccer icon Pelé has sued Samsung in federal courtroom in Chicago, declaring the electronics large utilised a seem-alike in a total-website page advert for high-definition televisions that appeared in the New York Moments.

Pelé, or fairly a business that licenses the soccer star’s picture, has employed the very same Chicago firm that represented Jordan. The lawsuit picked the federal courtroom in Chicago as the location, although the advertisement appeared in Times editions throughout the U.S., and Pele is a Brazilian citizen suing a South Korean corporation.

Samsung seemingly felt there was price to Pelé’s endorsement: the lawsuit notes that two many years just before the advert featuring the purported search-alike Pelé was revealed, Samsung experienced engaged in negotiations with Pelé in excess of a prepare to employ the soccer star to endorse Samsung goods, but the organization pulled out “at the previous moment.”

In Jordan’s situation, Dominick’s and parent organization Safeway utilised Jordan’s complete title and jersey number in a 2009 advert published in Athletics Illustrated that commemorated Jordan’s induction into the Basketball Corridor of Fame. The Jordan ad featured a more overt reference than in Pelé’s look-alike claim, mentioned Andrew Zimbalist, a sporting activities economist who testified at Jordan’s trial.

And much more important to how significantly Pelé may possibly get in damages is a calculation of how much he usually acquired from endorsement deals, Zimbalist mentioned.

“I really don’t consider there’s any individual out there who can command the identical level of payment as Jordan,” Zimbalist mentioned. “He’s in a class by himself.”

Samsung associates did not react to requests for comment Monday.

Few athletes in the globe have Jordan’s worldwide attractiveness, but the 75-12 months-aged Pelé, is deemed by a lot of the biggest soccer participant ever to play the world’s most popular sport. The Brazil indigenous, whose entire name is Edson Arantes Do Nascimento, was named Athlete of the Century by the Intercontinental Olympic Committee in 1999. He holds the international document for most objectives scored in a career, although he is now virtually forty several years eliminated from his last skilled match.

Nevertheless, Pelé raked in $25 million from endorsements in 2014, when Brazil hosted the soccer’s Globe Cup, in accordance Bloomberg Enterprise. 1 sponsor that calendar year sold a $19,000 watch with an impression of Pelé producing a bicycle kick. The price of Pelé’s great title might increase nonetheless increased this year, when Rio De Janiero hosts the Olympic Online games, and his life tale is manufactured into a motion picture by Ron Howard’s movie organization.

“The goal is to get honest payment for the unauthorized use of Pele’s id and to prevent long term unauthorized utilizes,” said legal professional Fredrick Sperling, who also represented Jordan in his 2015 demo.

The 2015 advertisement at the coronary heart of lawsuit displays portion of the smiling experience of an older, black gentleman “who extremely intently resembles Pelé” beside an picture of Samsung television monitor, on which a soccer player is noticed “making a modified bicycle or scissors-kick, perfected and famously used by Pelé.”