Bucs host Panthers in battle of frustated clubs

The stumbling Carolina Panthers and Tampa Bay Buccaneers are far from Super Bowl form in the early season.

The Bears held out five players from practice: corner Sherrick McManis (hamstring), linebacker John Timu (ankle/knee), receiver Markus Wheaton (groin), guard Kyle Long (ankle) and defensive end Roy Robertson-Harris (hamstring). Long had offseason surgery on his ankle.

TMR: Great question. The boys all play fantasy, though none seem obsessed with it the way I was when I was 14 (and playing in my first game). Obviously, I would support them as much as possible and tell them I would help however I could.

Trey Wingo (NFL Live host, upcoming Golic & Wingo radio show, voice of a robot on an ESPN2 show I like a lot): What was your favorite line that you ever wrote for any of the shows that you worked on?

Impact: An argument can be made that Mercilus’ absence is even more damaging for the Texans long-term than Watt being gone, because the latter still had not regained his 2015 form as the NFL’s most dominant defender. Regardless, the Texans lost a duo that combined for 108 sacks since the 2012 season when Mercilus and Watt began playing together.

Impact: Freeman not only led the Bears in tackles last season with 86 despite missing four games because of a PED suspension, but the Bears also were stretched thin at inside linebacker because of injuries that hit the position. Fortunately for Chicago, fellow ILB Nick Kwiatkowski should be playing soon after recovering from his own pectoral injury.

Dolphins claim Cody Parkey off waivers, release Andrew Franks

The Miami Dolphins claimed kicker Cody Parkey on Sunday to replace Andrew Franks, who was waived late last week.

The Browns had waived Parkey last week as they trimmed their roster to 53 players.

Parkey, 25, lost the Browns’ kicking job to rookie Zane Gonzalez, a seventh-round draft pick. Gonzalez may have sealed Parkey’s fate when he connected on a 53-yard field goal in Thursday’s exhibition win at Chicago.

Stone (6-3, 290) signed with Atlanta as an undrafted free agent in 2014 when Raiders line coach Mike Tice was on staff and played two seasons with the Falcons. He was waived by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Saturday.

Having Stone on the practice squad gives the Raiders some insurance should anything happen to starting center Rodney Hudson. In the even that Hudson couldn’t play, Jon Feliciano is the only player on the roster with experience at center.

The Raiders had hoped to bring Ian Silberman back to the practice squad, but Silberman was claimed by the Indianapolis Colts and is on their 53-man roster.

So when Brian Watkins bought a Marshawn Lynch jersey a few years ago, it seemed like a good investment. Even after the running back retired, it was an acceptable jersey to wear on Blue Fridays.raptors_138

Emmitt Smith on Colin Kaepernick: ‘Somebody needs to give him a chance’

The pressure is mounting for an NFL team to offer Colin Kaepernick a job.

And Hall of Famer and former Cowboys running back Emmitt Smith thinks the controversial quarterback has what it takes to secure a roster spot.

“I think Colin Kaepernick definitely has the talent to play the game of football,” Smith told BlackSportsOnline. “I think somebody needs to give him a chance.”

“Regardless of where it’s happening, injustice in the world we live in at any place is an injustice to humanity and a threat to the freedoms we have. It’s a small percentage of people involved who are blatantly in the wrong. And we need to do our best as good folks to continue to outnumber (them) and express our opinions and act accordingly when given the opportunity to. … Prayers to the families who lost folks. I’m thinking of all the people there going through this right now.”

Their voices, in a hometown context regarding the white supremacists and neo-Nazis’ rally and violence, added to those throughout sports — most notably the Cavaliers’ LeBron James and the Nationals’ Sean Doolittle, like Chris Long a UVa alum — that reportedly could grow as the NFL preseason resumes this week.

Jones, 36, said “it was time” to retire because he’s “not a young guy in basketball terms.”

“It seemed like the perfect spot to invest my energy,” Jones said Wednesday. “I just knew this was the right time to come back home.”

Sarver and general manager Ryan McDonough, who received a contract extension, both said the only thing remaining for the Suns to accomplish as a franchise is to win a championship.dolphins_072

Bills trade Cardale Jones to Chargers

One day after kicking the tires on Robert Griffin III, the Los Angeles Chargers have decided to go in a different direction. On Wednesday, the club upgraded its backup quarterback slot by trading for second-year Bills passer Cardale Jones.

Jones, a fourth-round pick in the 2016 NFL Draft, has thrown just 11 passes in his NFL career. He rose to fame at Ohio State, where he led the Buckeyes to a national championship in 2014, despite starting the season as the team’s third-string passer.

Randy Gregory has already accumulated three suspensions since he was taken in the second round of the 2015 NFL Draft, and may never play in the league again. Moore joins David Irving and DeMarcus Lawrence as the other current Cowboys defensive linemen who have received a suspension with the team since 2016.

That’s not to mention the addition of Greg Hardy in 2015, despite being well aware of his domestic violence history and an impending suspension that was originally 10 games and later reduced to four games after an appeal.

Earlier this week, the Cowboys finally decided to put their foot down and cut ties with a player in trouble. The team released Lucky Whitehead after a warrant was issued for his arrest, but one day later it was rescinded and police admitted the shoplifting accusation levied against the return specialist was a case of mistaken identity.

The Cowboys can’t get out of their own way.

The Giants were a pitiful 29th in the league in rushing yards, averaging only 3.5 yards per carry. Rashad Jennings, who’s currently a free agent, led the team with just 593 yards last season. It’s now up to Paul Perkins and Shane Vereen to resurrect the ground game.

Central Michigan’s Marcus Keene, nation’s top scorer, to enter NBA Draft, report says

entral Michigan’s Marcus Keene, who led Division I in scoring this season at 30.0 points per game, will enter the 2017 NBA draft, The Associated Press reported, citing an unidentified person familiar with the decision.

A 5-9 junior, Keene became Division I’s most prolific scorer since Long Island’s Charles Jones averaged 30.1 points per game in 1996-97.

Despite his single-season MAC record 959 points, CMU finished 16-16, 6-12 in conference.

NBA teams, who have scouted Keene frequently this season, will have to envision in him the kind of diminutive scorer who can create his own shot like the Celtics’ Isaiah Thomas, who also is listed at 5-9 and is averaging 29.2 points per game for Boston.

This one’s easy. The Warriors might be taking measurements for his statue as this is being written. Curry is the franchise’s first two-time MVP, the league’s only unanimous selection in history and has proven to be a transcendent offensive talent with his remarkable range and record-setting 3-point shooting.

His one glaring weakness: No Finals MVP hardware. Yet. But he intends to re-sign with the Warriors this summer, and with Kevin Durant likely also there for the long haul, there’s a good chance that the Warriors are fixtures in the Finals and one day Curry adds a Finals MVP to his Hall of Fame-worthy resume. Yes, the statue is coming, right around 2035.magic_152

We can’t give them any airspace

Finley was never the best shooting guard in the league or necessarily the first player you named from the Mavericks teams of the late 1990s and early 2000s. But Finley just continued to get buckets over a 15-year career. He had a smooth shooting stroke and could still reach high altitude well into his 30s. (What I’m saying is I really liked Michael Finley as a kid and thought the Mavs were fun. The child version of me pushed him higher here.)

“Their 3-point shooting is a problem,” coach Scott Brooks said. “They’re one of the best 3-point shooting teams in the league and they give you two 5s that can shoot 3s in Al (Horford) and Kelly (Olynyk). So we have to do a good job in making sure we are ready to guard the 3-point line. We can’t give them any airspace.”

As much as Isaiah Thomas — and his 86 points in two games — has been a problem for Washington, as much as a lack of depth is sapping the good play of the Wizards starters, as much as players have lamented the lack of toughness on the roster, what’s really killed the Wizards in the first two games has been an inability to contest Boston’s 3-point shots.

McCollum had already said he’d like to see his team land George on Twitter. Tuesday, he reiterated his affections for the small forward, who averaged a career-high 23.7 points and 6.6 rebounds while helping the Pacers qualify for the playoffs for the second straight season since missing the postseason in 2014-15 when George missed nearly all of the season with a compound fracture in his right leg. In an interview on SportsNet New York reporter Taylor Rooks’ podcast, McCollum said he’s spoken with George about his rise to stardom and shared his thoughts on what George could bring to Portland.

Rooks: Paul George. You want Paul George to be a Blazer?

McCollum: I think this is tampering. At this point, I tweeted it. So, we have to be careful with what we say. I don’t know what type of viewership we’re facing here, gonna face right now with this.” jets_008

NBA trade rumors: Carmelo Anthony ready to swap Apple for banana? Cavs, Rockets in play

So maybe Carmelo Anthony is ready to team up with one of his Banana Boat buds.

That was the word early Monday from ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, who reported that sources told him Anthony is now willing to waive his no-trade clause for a move to the Cavaliers (where he’d finally get to play with King James) or the Rockets (where he’d get to play with Chris Paul but also for Mike D’Antoni).

“We love KP and what he does so I don’t see him going anywhere,” Hornacek said, via ESPN.

Porzingis made it clear late last season he did not like the Knicks’ direction, and he clearly expressed his displeasure by skipping his postseason exit interview. Leading up to the draft, Phil Jackson reportedly shopped the 21-year-old Latvian star around the league looking to make a deal.

But Porzingis might be more content with the team’s situation now that Jackson is gone. Even before Jackson’s ouster as team president, Porzingis had said he loved New York and would like to stay.

Porzingis averaged 18.1 points and 7.2 rebounds per game last season, his second year in the NBA.

Meanwhile, the Tigers don’t look like they’re going anywhere, sitting at 37-45. Sure, one stretch of winning 10 of 12 gets them back in the wild-card race, but note Joe Sheehan’s factoid from his newsletter on Tuesday: In the wild-card era since 1995, only 11 teams with a losing record on July 4 made the playoffs (and none won the World Series). I’ll throw in that none of those 11 were as bad as 37-45. The Tigers can hope for better second halves from Verlander and Miguel Cabrera, but even then they’re not a playoff team. It’s time to commit to a rebuild and Verlander, even with his 4.96 ERA and the $56 million owed him in 2018-19 (plus a $22 million vesting option for 2020), should bring a nice return in a season where so many teams will be scrambling for pitching help.

There are lots of protocols in place for the team or NFL personnel to be alerted to a concussion

While the pieces are in place to make another run at the playoffs in 2017, what happens to the Seahawks after that is something of a mystery. Pete Carroll and John Schneider will be entering a transition period soon, and their big challenge will be keeping the team’s contention window open while Russell Wilson is still in his prime.

The offensive line was a fatal flaw, ranking as Pro Football Focus’ worst in the NFL. The unit let Wilson get sacked 41 times. Their starting left tackle, George Fant, literally hadn’t played football since Pee Wee and it showed.

Before getting back on the field after a head injury, each team has a protocol the player must pass, including getting the OK from an independent doctor. All of these processes that are in place, plus education, has led to more documented cases of concussions and players who get the proper medical treatment when they get one.

There are lots of protocols in place for the team or NFL personnel to be alerted to a concussion. However, at times, it falls on the player to report the head injury.

Simple Minds’ “Alive and Kicking” seamlessly merges all of that into one song. It’s a recognizable tune, but not overplayed like “Don’t You (Forget About Me),” which pretty much only a show like The Handmaid’s Tale can get away with using anymore.

Most importantly, it’s a total montage song. I don’t want to say anything when I sign — I’ll let Jim Kerr & Co. do that for me. — Sarah Hardy

I most certainly am signing that contract while listening to “Have a Cigar” by Pink Floyd. Yes, I know the song is really about corporate greed and selling your soul, talents, and labor to “the man” but wait hey, isn’t that what the NFL is all about?!yankees_1090_347e88d5795c6b48-180x180

Russell Westbrook accidentally blocked teammate’s dunk by playing so hard

Russell Westbrook’s doomed last stand in Game 5 of the Western Conference quarterfinals will again reopen the debate on if his gaudy numbers actually help his team. Westbrook finished with 47 points, 10 rebounds, and nine assists in the Oklahoma City Thunder’s season-ending loss, but he shot only 2-of-11 in the fourth quarter.

This sequence with three minutes left in the fourth shows how Westbrook’s aggression can be harmful at times.

It looks like Oklahoma City’s Jerami Grant has an easy putback dunk here, but Westbrook stole the rebound and inadvertently blocked his teammate’s shot. Westbrook then reset on offense and drove to the hoop, where he missed a layup. He could have seen Grant standing wide open under the hoop.

Westbrook blocked Grant’s offensive putback, then completely ignored him underneath even though he was wide open. Not the best look.

Westbrook was brilliant in the third quarter to give OKC a short-lived lead, but the Houston Rockets came back in the fourth to win, 105-99. As a team, the Thunder shot just 24 percent in the final frame.

This Westbrook season was unforgettable for a lot of reasons. Add the fourth quarter of Game 5 to the list. Now, there’s a chance the tradition of the shoey could be spreading to the U.S. and this wasn’t an Australian Clippers fan at all, but it seems a little too specific. There is no other country that celebrates by drinking out of their actual footwear. Sure, Germany and Austria might drink out of glasses that look like boots, but only the Aussies will down some foot sweat with their booze.

“I don’t think I’m at that point in my career where I should be changing positions. I think guys do that later in their career,” George said. “They put on weight, (begin) lacking physical attributes as far as being quick, so I don’t necessarily feel the need to play a different position, especially coming back into a new season and starting fresh again. nike_redskins_387

Pac-12 tournament 2017: Live scores and updating bracket

For the second time in three years, the Arizona Wildcats are the Pac-12 tournament champions. On Saturday night, the 2015 champs beat the 2016 champion Oregon Ducks to complete an impressive tournament run.

In a top-heavy conference with three loaded teams at the top, Arizona earned the tournament title by outlasting that third Pac-12 super team, UCLA, followed by Saturday’s win over the top-seeded Ducks.

Oregon took care of business on their end too, outlasting Cal to set up the title game.

The Pac-12 have three teams that are elite or close to it, another likely NCAA Tournament team after them, and maybe one more on the bubble. There’s real quality at the top, but the conference trails off quickly after its trio of top teams: Oregon, Arizona, and UCLA.

The Ravens will be Woodhead’s fourth team as a pro. He capped a storied college career at Chadron State with a pair of Harlon Hill awards — Division II’s equivalent of the Heisman — and held the honor of being the NCAA’s all-time leading rusher, but the 5’8 tailback couldn’t find a spot in the 2008 NFL Draft. Instead, he signed with the New York Jets, where he spent two-plus seasons but earned only 15 carries.

That served as enough of a tryout to impress Patriots head coach Bill Belichick. New York cut Woodhead in 2010, clearing the way for New England to add him to its roster that fall. The small-school standout made an immediate impact in Foxborough, averaging 5.6 yards per carry and emerging as a legitimate threat in the team’s passing attack.

The World Baseball Classic is a hell of a lot of fun, but unfortunately when one of your favorite team’s players is participating, you have to hold your breath while enjoying the action.8