ESPN gives Raiders linebackers runner-up as worst LB core in NFL

ESPN gives Raiders linebackers runner-up as worst LB core in NFL More In case any average fan wasn’t aware of how dire the situation is for the Raiders at linebacker, ESPN came out and ranked Oakland’s core as the second-worst in the NFL, tied with the Rams and just behind the Colts as the most atrocious unit in football. After beginning the season with a poor defensive coordinator in regards to scheming, general manager Reggie McKenzie asked former DC Ken Norton Jr. to win games with a high-hipped, run-stopping LB in Marquel Lee as the team’s starter in the middle.

Phillips has a similar profile to former first-round pick Muhammad Wilkerson (7.80), making him a solid second-round choice for Detroit if he’s still available. Another high-end athlete, Alabama’s Da’Shawn Hand (8.81), could rejoin his former teammate A’Shawn Robinson (3.45) to add some speed to Detroit’s interior rush.

Last month, the Lions signed nose tackle Sylvester Williams (4.86 RAS) to anchor their line, but could easily consider another a longer-term solution at that spot on the third day of the draft.

Another source hedged optimism with uncertainty as well, saying, I believe he’s going to be there. However, having said that, we’re dealing with a human being. Things can change. But I do believe he will be playing.

Michael Giardi of NBC Sports Boston later reported he spoke to two of Brady’s teammates, who noted they’ve had talks with the quarterback during the offseason and that Brady never indicated he wasn’t playing/retiring.

Schefter’s report regarding Brady means there is a lack of clarity surrounding two of New England’s best players, as tight end Rob Gronkowski has yet to commit to playing in 2018 as well.

Per Schefter, part of Brady’s decision to skip team activities is so he can spend more time working with personal trainer Alex Guerrero.

Although Brady is approaching 41 years of age, he is coming off a highly productive season that saw him net his third career NFL MVP award.

He completed 66.3 percent of his passes for 4,577 yards, 32 touchdowns and eight interceptions.

Brady also threw for 505 yards and three touchdowns in a Super Bowl LII loss to the Philadelphia Eagles.

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Jarvis Landry: Odell Beckham staying with Giants for another year (VIDEO)

Giants star Odell Beckham and his close friend Jarvis Landry have taken turns trying to woo each other to join the same NFL team.

But that time has come and gone… for now.

The Giants were taking calls on Beckham’s availability via trade last month, but it no longer looks as if the three-time Pro Bowler is going to be dealt.

The asking price of two first-round picks seemed to scare off suitors possibly concerned about his decision-making, rehabbed ankle and the negotiations on an extension. The Rams were reported as a favorite, but the Browns made sense, too, given salary cap space.

Though Landry smiled and laughed at the question on Beckham and quickly pivoting back to his focus on the Browns, it is interesting to note he said Beckham would be with the Giants for another year instead of years.

The Giants could franchise tag Beckham each of the next two offseasons — like the Steelers have with Le’Veon Bell — if extension talks stall.

Beckham reported for the start of the Giants’ voluntary offseason program last week, but it is unknown if he will be in East Rutherford next week for the start of a three-day mini-camp. He is unlikely to practice due to his ankle and a NFL Network report suggested he will holdout until he has a new contract.

The first name mentioned would arguably fill the Lions’ biggest needs, with one of the draft’s largest players.

One I would keep an eye on, I would say Will Hernandez would be an interesting one, Jeremiah said. I think he kind of fits the physical nature they want to have there with their team.

The 348-pound guard out of UTEP earned first-team All-American honors last season before putting a rubber stamp on his resume with a strong showing at the combine. He put up 37 reps on the bench press, while surprisingly managing to post top-10 times in the 40-yard dash and 3-cone drills among linemen.

A mauling guard, Hernandez would be a plug-and-play option on the left side of Detroit’s line, providing an immediate boost to the team’s run blocking.

Another player who could improve the ground game at No. 20, according to Jeremiah, would be LSU running back Derrius Guice.

I think he’s better than the backs they have on campus right now, Jeremiah said.

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Bradley Beal still has support of John Wall, Wizards after sluggish start

After Bradley Beal missed his fourth 3-pointer, the Washington Wizards All-Star shooting guard passed on attempting another 3 and took it strong to the rim, only to watch Serge Ibaka swoop in and emphatically reject his shot.

This pretty much summed up Beal’s frustrating night, during which he spent most of it in foul trouble before being limited to nine points and 3-for-11 shooting in a 130-119 Game 2 loss to the Raptors.

After averaging a career-high 36.3 minutes this season and playing 82 games for the first time in his six-year career, the 39.3 percent career 3-point shooter could be feeling the effects of trying to keep Washington afloat while Wall was out for two months due to knee surgery. Beal averaged 22.6 points and career highs of 4.5 assists and 4.4 rebounds this season.

Peat ended last year on injured reserve after suffering a broken ankle in the wild card round of the playoffs.

Starting in the first round, the Lions should have the choice of multiple defensive tackles at pick No. 20. Vita Vea, a Ngata clone, is the most likely to be off the board at that point, but Detroit could be looking at a choice of Maurice Hurst, Da’Ron Payne and Tavon Bryan.

Hurst, the former Michigan standout, is an undersized 3-technique, but fits any scheme with his ability to get after the passer. Bryan offers more size with elite athleticism. He might have the highest ceiling of the three if you trust your coaching staff to maximize potential. Payne, meanwhile, would provide a long-term replacement for Williams. The Alabama prospect is a brick house who should be a quality run stopper out of the box, with more pass-rush potential.

On Day 2, former wrestler Harrison Phillips, who racked up a staggering 103 tackles as a senior last season, or deceptively athletic 315-pound B.J. Hill, both make sense. Nathan Shepherd, out of little known Fort Hays State, also carries intrigue starting in Round 3.

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Bears emerge as potential destination for Jarvis Landry

The Dolphins are looking to trade wide receiver Jarvis Landry, and they may have found a partner in Chicago.

The Bears have emerged as a possible destination for Landry, Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald reports.

Landry is willing to work with the Dolphins in helping to work out a trade, according to the report. That work would presumably include talking to his new team to work out a new contract in advance.

Now banks, hotels and rental cars are picking a side, and they are all starting to take a hit. A Politico/Morning Consult survey of US adults conducted Feb. 23-25 found that consumers felt more negatively toward businesses after they learned they had cut ties with NRA members. For example, MetLife’s unfavorable rating of 12 percent jumped to 24 percent once respondents were told of the company’s decision.

And on Thursday, Georgia lawmakers penalized the Atlanta-based Delta by dropping a $50 million jet-fuel tax cut in retaliation for their anti-NRA move. Amazingly, just 13 NRA members have bought tickets through Delta’s plan. But the airline will now pay in millions.

We’d like to do it sooner rather than later, Gutekunst said. When you’ve got the best player in the sport you’d like to lock him up.

Asked whether he’d like to extend Rodgers before Kirk Cousins and Drew Brees sign their next deals, Gutekunst laughed and said, That would be nice.

Rodgers is due to make $20.9 million in 2018 and $21.1 million in 2019, an average of $21 million over the next two years. The question becomes whether he’ll be looking to surpass the top of the market in new money analysis or in total value from signing.

It’s a key distinction in the assessment of contracts. If, for example, Rodgers signs a five-year, $150 million contract to replace the final two years of his current deal, that contract would have a new-money average of $36 million. And if the deal has a new money average of $30 million (via a three-year, $90 million extension), the contract would have a total value at signing of only $26.4 million.

Keep that in mind when the time comes to assess the quality of the Rodgers extension. He could end up being the highest paid player in terms of new money, but not the highest paid when it comes to examining the deal from the moment it’s signed.

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Davidson’s Andrea Robinson has leukemia, out remainder of season

Davidson says sophomore forward Andrea Robinson has leukemia and will miss the rest of the season.

Coach Gayle Coats Fulks announced Robinson’s diagnosis Monday. She had been out since mid-December and is being treated at The Johns Hopkins Hospital in her hometown of Baltimore.

The Lakers shot 55 percent from the floor. But at the foul line, Clarkson made two of his three free throws; the rest of the team was 0 for 11.

It’s like a virus or something, Clarkson said.

Victor Oladipo led Indiana with 25 points, but most of his teammates struggled offensively. Darren Collison shot 1 of 9 and Lance Stephenson was 1 for 12.

It marked the first time this season the Pacers, the NBA’s third-best shooting team, finished under 40 percent in consecutive games.

Grantham was averaging 14.2 points and 6.9 rebounds per game for the 20th-ranked Tigers (16-3, 5-2 ACC).

Kentucky didn’t need to be pretty or dominating, just effective enough at the right times to break out of its recent slump.

We ground it out, we got the ball where we wanted to, we made layups and we made free throws, Calipari said.

Quinndary Weatherspoon had 19 points and Nick Weatherspoon 10 for the Bulldogs (14-6, 2-5), who shot just 39 percent and were outrebounded 41-31 while losing their second straight SEC contest and fifth in sixth games.

Knox, whom Calipari would rather see going to the basket more, used open looks to make four of Kentucky’s five 3-pointers on 14 attempts. Sophomore forward Wenyen Gabriel had the other.

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No. 22 Arizona State women beat Colorado 73-59

Kianna Ibis scored 24 points, Courtney Ekmark added 16 and No. 22 Arizona State beat Colorado 73-59 on Sunday for its eighth straight win in the series.

Ibis was 10 of 17 from the field and the rest of Arizona State was 17 of 43 (39.5 percent). Charnea Johnson-Chapman grabbed 12 rebounds as the Sun Devils outrebounded Colorado 40-25 and Robbi Ryan had a career-high eight of the Sun Devils’ 21 assists.

Minnesota is 6-1 on the road since Week 5, tied for the best road record of any team in that time. However, it is just 6-16 all-time in postseason road games and hasn’t won a playoff road game since a 31-17 victory at Green Bay in 2004.

Keenum threw for 318 yards last week, the fourth most he has ever thrown for in a single game. It was also the third-most for a Vikings quarterback in the postseason. His ability to stretch a defense, matched with the Vikings’ growing array of talent at wide receiver makes them tough to defend.

The Eagles will counter with Alshon Jeffery and Jay Ajayi. Jeffery has caught seven touchdown passes against the Vikings in his career, and Ajayi has grasped the lead-back role in Philadelphia.

Yu Darvish is right for Wrigley, while J.D. Martinez might want to think twice about Boston. With big names still available, here is the best fit for each free agent.

Fox executives, who are expected to release a formal announcement about the hiring Sunday, told USA Today that Vick’s many relationships with today’s current coaches and players will allow him to bring a truly unique perspective that intrigues and engages viewers.

Vick, who last played in the NFL in 2015, may be respected by fellow players and coaches, but he remains a controversial figure to the general public, some of whom still remember him most as the NFL star who fell from grace after pleading guilty to federal dogfighting charges.

Vick worked hard to revamp his image since he served a 19-month prison sentence a decade ago by volunteering with children, whom he urges to make better choices than he did.

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No. 14 Texas Tech has big rally to beat Oklahoma State 75-70

Keenan Evans reiterated a message to his Texas Tech teammates after the senior struggled shooting the ball in a couple of big losses by the No. 14 Red Raiders.

I was going to be that guy that set the tone, whether it was aggressive on offense, or aggressive on defense, Evans said. I was trying to be that guy that was kind of everywhere … just making tough plays and trying to get us going in any way possible.

Every game, you’re going to get punched, the other team is going to go on runs, and you’ve got to respond, Beard said. Tonight, above all, what I’m most proud of is just the grit, the composure. I didn’t think there was much panic out there, even when we were trying so hard to play well and we just weren’t.

Even though the Red Raiders are out of the Top 10 for the first time in three weeks, they are still among the nation’s top 15 teams for three straight weeks for the first time since 1995-96.

Carroll had a go-ahead bank shot with 5:50 left in the first half that started a half-ending 18-5 run that put Oklahoma State up 37-25. Carroll had a 3-pointer 36 seconds after that as part of eight straight points for the Cowboys.

Georgia and Oklahoma met earlier this month in a 54-48 double-overtime classic won by the Bulldogs in the College Football Playoff semifinals. In his new role at Oklahoma, Beamer will be involved with head coach Lincoln Riley in preparing the offensive game plan and will also coach tight ends and H-backs.

Beamer, 40, has also had coaching stints working under Hall of Famers Steve Spurrier at South Carolina and Phillip Fulmer at Tennessee and Sylvester Croom at Mississippi State.

There will be plenty of quarterback-related intrigue in the coming days and perhaps weeks with Romo, Jay Cutler and Colin Kaepernick among the veterans expected to be available.

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Grand Canyon beats NAIA’s William Jessup 96-80

Alessandro Lever scored 25 points, Joshua Braun had 22 and Grand Canyon rolled to a 96-80 victory over NAIA member William Jessup on Tuesday night.

Lever was 10 of 16 from the floor and Braun hit 7 of 11 and made four 3-pointers. Casey Benson added 12 points and 10 assists for his first double-double of the season, and Oscar Frayer had 10 points for Grand Canyon (15-6), which has won four straight and five of its last six.

Luis Medearis scored 20 and Keith Phillips had 13 points for William Jessup. Oliver Amajoyi chipped in 10 points and seven rebounds.

Even before Jim Caldwell was fired, Patriots defensive coordinator Matt Patricia appeared destined for this job. One of the carousel’s hottest candidates, Patricia has a good relationship with GM Bob Quinn and is considered to be ready for a head coaching job. In addition, Detroit would like to keep offensive coordinator Jim Bob Cooter for his work with QB Matt Stafford.

Josh Cunningham added 15 points and Davis 14 for Dayton. Crutcher had six assists, and scored all 12 of his points in the second half.

Peyton Aldridge scored 24 points to lead Davidson (10-8, 5-2). Jon Axel Gudmundsson chipped in 14 points with four 3-pointers, and Magarity had 12 points.

The Flyers committed 21 turnovers in its 14-point loss against Rhode Island on Saturday, but had just six against Davidson.

The Hawks began the game ranked seventh in 3-point shooting, but they had little chance of competing after missing 34 of their first 38 shots beyond the arc. Atlanta, coming off a dramatic late victory over New Orleans, was attempting to win three straight for the first time this season.

The shot isn’t falling, but you have to find another way to win the game, Schroder said. We didn’t do it tonight. We have to keep moving on to the next game.

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Since then, he’s learned to block out his various injuries.

History is a long drive, and as with all long drives we remember the first and last miles more than the hours of unchanging landscapes in the middle. On the merits, the first World Series — in 1903 — wasn’t that memorable, and in many ways, the play would have been unrecognizable to a modern fan: One team’s ace was ineffective after injuring himself in a trap-shooting contest, another pitcher threw five complete games, and the best player on the field (Honus Wagner) made six errors. And yet nobody would dispute that the 2017 Series and the 1903 Series belong to the same lineage, which makes 1903 the infrastructure upon which our modern game is built.

It’s gonna hurt, Jones said. But I’m out here. I made the decision to be out here. I don’t care about it hurting.

Jones’ production dipped this season, part of a wider drop-off under first-year offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian, and there have been a few more drops than previous seasons — most notably, what should have been an easy 39-yard touchdown catch in a November loss at Carolina .

But, overall, it’s been another huge season for Jones. He had 88 catches for 1,444 yards — an average of 90.3 per game — and earned second-team honors on The Associated Press All-Pro team.

For instance, 1942 was the year Franklin Roosevelt sent the Green Light letter to baseball, more or less giving the sport permission to keep playing baseball during the war for the good of the nation. The larger culture reached its big, heavy paw into baseball and reminded the sport it is a game in the world, not actually a world of its own. Same for 2005, the year Congress called Rafael Palmeiro, McGwire and others to testify awkwardly about performance-enhancing drugs.

Or, as the vice versa: The 1992 season is the year the Homer At The Bat episode of The Simpsons aired. It might have been the last time baseball players were celebrities enough to carry a pop-culture phenomenon, and it helped launch the show’s practice of loading up on celebrity guest stars. Indeed, in retrospect that episode sort of looks like the final act of baseball’s reign as the national pastime.

He’s been cursing since his earlier years in both New York and Denver. Anthony attributes his vulgarity on the boards to self-motivation:

I’ve been doing it for a long time, Anthony said, via The Norman Transcript’s Fred Katz. I think now, just coming with the whole mindset thing and focus and that motivation to want to get back on the rebound tip, and being aggressive on the glass. Just kind of motivating myself. It’s a mind game I kind of play with myself to go out and play and get some rebounds.

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The Steelers are playing without Antonio Brown, and for Brown’s sake.

Is it foolish to use the term winnable games when discussing the Browns? Sure, when the Bears are next on the schedule. The Browns somehow have a more stable outlook for the future than do the Bears, whose coach and general manager are living on borrowed time. They looked downright inept against the Lions last week, at least as much as the Browns often do. If not now, Browns, then never.

A playoff bye would benefit him and them as he recovers from his calf injury. They managed to fill in for him on the fly against the Patriots, so they should be able to form an actual game plan this week. If they can keep Jadeveon Clowney reasonably in check, they can get away with it.

The Houston Rockets are just 2-5 straight up and 1-6 against the spread over their last seven games. The Rockets will try to build on a two-game winning streak when they host the Golden State Warriors this Thursday night.

Houston opened as a 3.5-point home underdog at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com. In their last three games as a home underdog, the Rockets are 0-3 SU and ATS, with two of those losses coming against Golden State.

The UNDER has gone 4-1 in Houston’s last five games for totals bettors.

Thanks to Houston’s recent losing streak, the Warriors have surged ahead of the Rockets in the standings and now hold a two-game lead for the top spot in the West. This race for home field advantage in the postseason could get out of hand in a hurry with Harden’s injury, putting added emphasis on this key home game for Houston on Thursday.

Despite the risk of losing federal funds for Title IX non-compliance, the NCAA, in recent years, has witnessed a troubling number of college football programs afflicted by athletic departments that have exhibited an inadequate approach to rape accusations.

Baylor University. The University of Tennessee. The University of Missouri. The list goes on.

Amid a growing number of sexual assault controversies and Title IX lawsuits facing such NCAA member schools, the NCAA Board of Governors passed a resolution this past August that requires college athletes, coaches and athletics administrators at NCAA member schools to complete annual sexual violence prevention education.

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