Rams’ Aaron Donald to miss opener amid holdout

Aaron Donald’s contract holdout will extend into the regular season.

The Rams defensive tackle is expected to miss the team’s opener Sunday against the Colts as he continues to wait on a new deal, EPSN reported Thursday.

Rams general manager Les Snead provided an update on his status last Tuesday, saying Donald likely wouldn’t be available for the opener if he didn’t report to the team that week after skipping training camp and the preseason.

Slay said Fitzgerald isn’t afraid to dole out pieces of advice to other cornerbacks throughout the league. If anything, he said that’s what makes Fitzgerald such a good and unique player.

“Everybody looks up to Larry,” Slay said. “Fourteen years in the game, takes care of his body, be so professional about everything. Great, great guy. I met him a couple times. He’s a very, very great guy. I just look forward to always working and going against him challenging him cause the only thing he’s going to do is make me better.”

Lions safety Glover Quin also shared an interesting tidbit about how Fitzgerald is on the field.

He said Fitzgerald, who has a history of knee injuries, will tell defensive players to hit him high, and that if it’s an illegal hit he would help that player pay his fine.

Steve Smith has a good reason to deny NFL players who request training help

When and if Steve Smith Sr. finds himself enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, the reasons will range from his remarkable production through a 16-year NFL career to his status as an all-time great trash-talker.

The reasons will not include his willingness to help younger players.

The retired wide receiver is declining requests for training help from current NFL players. His reasoning is not based in pride or some sort of grudge against the younger generation of players like Jalen Ramsey.

His reasoning is personal, and it makes sense. Especially for a man who already has reversed one retirement decision.

“I don’t think anyone that’s ever played with him is gonna say he was a horrible teammate,” former Cowboys receiver Patrick Crayton told the Dallas Morning News recently. “They’d be like, ‘Yeah, you know what? He really wasn’t a bad teammate. We might have had our issues at times, but he wasn’t a bad teammate whatsoever.'”

Even Steve Young, Owens’ QB in San Francisco, agrees:

He worked as hard as Jerry Rice — I’ve never said that about anyone else by the way. He was willing to stand next to Jerry and work, and I’ve never seen that before. So to me, what I saw were his physical abilities were incredible. The work ethic, incredible, and a very respectful guy.
So why keep him out? Maybe if he was a borderline Hall of Fame player then the on-field antics (which shouldn’t be held against him, per the rules) would make some sense. But Owens is an all-time great, and the numbers back that up.

But don’t be surprised if the committee continues to exclude Owens. Fouts is already upset with how Owens has conducted himself when he found out he won’t get in.texans_125

Dalvin Cook slips to Vikings, and response now falls on his shoulders

Why did Dalvin Cook fall to the Vikings?

That’s not a simple question. In another draft, the fact that Cook fell to the second round and the Vikings traded up to get him with the No. 41 pick wouldn’t have been that big of a deal. Cook, however, was a projected first-round pick who was taken 33 picks behind Christian McCaffrey at No. 8 overall.

How can a running back who averaged 6.5 yards per carry through a productive career at Florida State that somehow got more prolific with each season fall that far?

The Bills decided they already had their man in place. If they find out that they don’t, they have an extra first-rounder next year.

And they still got someone at 27th overall who helps them enormously: Tre’Davious White, the LSU cornerback who has a chance to fill the hole created by the departure of Stephon Gilmore.

Both teams can feel great about the deal. Both teams should avoid the dragging the Bears are taking over the big trade that preceded the Bills’. The Bills, in fact, should feel like they won, in this draft and the next.

Obi Melifonwu, S, Connecticut: Melifonwu has incredible length at 6-4, 219 and is an athletic, rangy safety with good speed and instincts. He has very good ball skills and can be used as a matchup piece against tight ends or tall receivers. He’s also a solid tackler, making 118 stops to go with four interceptions last season, and created a nice buzz heading into the draft.

Cardinals release Daryl Washington after NFL reinstatement

Daryl Washington is allowed to play in the NFL again after being suspended for the last three seasons, but he will have to find a new team.

The Cardinals released the former Pro Bowl linebacker Thursday, the organization announced.

The bruising Pitt running back, only 16 months removed from a cancer diagnosis, was drafted by the Steelers in the third round (105th overall) of the NFL Draft Friday night, another milestone in Conner’s incredible journey.

The 2014 ACC Player of the Year was diagnosed with Hodgkins Lymphoma during Thanksgiving of 2015. Despite undergoing intense chemotherapy, Conner continued to practice, and returned to field week one of the 2016 season. He finished the season strong, scoring a key touchdown in Pitt’s upset victory over No. 1 Clemson and ending the year with over 1092 yards and 20 total touchdowns.

Conner, an Erie, Penn. native, finished his career with 3733 rushing yards, and is the all-time ACC leader in touchdowns with 55.

The moment Conner received the call from the 412 area code is pretty breathtaking.

There was a bit more levity on Mike Tomlin’s side of things, who joked that the Steelers wouldn’t reimburse Conner for his gas mileage driving from Erie to Pittsburgh.

Pitt head coach Pat Narduzzi said Conner’s selection feels like a Hollywood movie. After all, this is a guy that, just over a year ago, received some of the worst news a human can possibly get.

Cowboys hope Taco Charlton (and his amazing name) is an amazing NFL pass rusher

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Taco Charlton isnt just memorable because hes got one of the drafts best names. He also developed from potential-filled backup to pass-rushing force in his four years at Michigan, earning praise from NFL scouts in the process.

Sort of! Although his birth name is Bishard,hes gone by Budda since he was a baby because his mother — or was it his aunt? — thought he looked like a little Buddha doll.

Its my name now,Baker told the Seattle Times when he was in high school. I dont really like being called Bishard.Look, we can all agree that part of our pent-up aggression as it pertains to Goodell has to do with some base jealousy. He has a silver spoon quality as the son of a politician and a lifelong NFL employee. He is the suit-iest of suits. He essentially made a million dollars in salary per franchise in 2015, and that was actually a pay cut from his salary a year before. He is the easy target for any issue you have with the league.

He is the archetype for all of the leagues stuffiness and largesse: from the rules that make the NFL the No Fun League, to the on-field scandals like Spygate, Deflategate, and Bountygate. You got issues with ticket prices, personal conduct suspensions, drug offenses, your team moving, or your team fleecing your city for a new stadium? Exorcise that demon right before he announces the pick.
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That also doesnt even get near the ways the league has bungled serious issues like player safety and domestic violence. Hes on the hook for those, too.

Goodell is the NFL bureaucracys public-facing shill (paid by the owners, mind you), so hes going to bear the brunt of fan frustration. He will hear our boos during the first round of the draft; its all we have to battle him with.

The Memphis Grizzlies will finally blow up the roster after getting blown off the court by the Spurs.

The Bears’ needs on the line are more complicated than expected. One might think they are set in the interior with former Packers left guard Josh Sitton joining recent high draft picks Kyle Long and Cody Whitehair. Long, however, got a bad break with a shoulder injury piling on his ankle injury, setting up a rocky offseason of health.

The emphasis will be on tackles to upgrade from Charles Leno and Bobby Massie, but Long’s status might prompt the Bears to go for a big, strong lineman who can swing inside. The ideal guy for that would be Western Michigan’s Taylor Moton if he’s still there for their second-round pick. Come Round 3, Troy’s Antonio Garcia would be ahead of Florida State’s Roderick Johnson because of the Senior Bowl familiarity. A little later, maybe on Day 3, Pittsburgh’s Adam Bisnowaty or Bucknell’s Julie’n Davenport are in play.

With that in mind, Giannis Antetokounmpo was an obvious choice. I wrote long on Giannis a few weeks ago and I won’t rehash all the particulars. His rise from fascinating phenom to top-10 player has been one of the pure joys of this season.

The Warriors are going to trounce the Blazers (bless their hearts), rest up, and trounce the Clippers or Jazz in Round 2. It’s that rest while the other team is fighting for their lives that makes it so tough to survive two months of playoff action as a team outside the No. 1 or 2 seeds.

The Memphis Grizzlies will finally blow up the roster after getting blown off the court by the Spurs.

Millsap forced overtime after LeBron James’ inbound pass allowed the Hawks to trap Kyrie Irving in the corner.

Paul Millsap sank a fading mid-range jumper as time expired to send the Cleveland Cavaliers and Atlanta Hawks to overtime with a score of 111-111. The shot completed a 26-point Hawks comeback.

And, sadly, putting a kickoff through the uprights remains impressive but meaningless.

Denver’s line was one of the worst in the league in 2016, and it made it impossible for Trevor Siemian or Paxton Lynch to play well enough to make the playoffs, even with a dominant defense. Denver’s line allowed 40 sacks and 100 quarterback hits on its young quarterback duo last season.

Matt Paradis was a strength at center, but Donald Stephenson struggled at right tackle last season. This offseason, the Broncos decided to move on from left tackle Russell Okung just one season after signing him.

Hoffman led the tournament by four strokes after the first round and was tied for the lead after the second. He emerged alone again for much of Saturday’s round, but Hoffman declined on the back nine and lost his leading position for Sunday. Hoffman nonetheless remains in solid contention, as do many others.

High winds made Augusta National a challenging course on Thursday and Friday. Saturday was a gorgeous day, and the field scoring average was by far the lowest of the three days. (Augusta’s always hard, but it was less so on Saturday.) Weather’s expected to again be good on Sunday. Even for the players at the highest heights of the leaderboard, it’ll require several birdies to win this tournament. Just making par after par almost certainly won’t be enough in a low scoring environment.

In perhaps the best division in football, there were plenty of injuries.

However, plenty of players were lost in the heat of battle. Denver wide receiver Wes Welker sustained a concussion in the second half and will be evaluated further as the week progresses. Tight end Julius Thomas suffered an ankle injury and despite coming back into the game, will need to have tests done.

For the Chiefs, right tackle Eric Fisher had to leave with a shoulder injury in the fourth quarter. Fisher did not return and his status is in question at this point for next Sunday. Defensive end Mike DeVito left in the first quarter with a knee injury. He left the field under his own power but did not come back.

For the San Diego Chargers, wide receiver Keenan Allen suffered a knee injury against the Miami Dolphins in a 20-16 loss. Allen exited with an apparent knee injury.

Slam dunk for the Cowboys, right? No, not at all, because this is the Cowboys, America’s team because America and Americans are fundamentally dysfunctional. It’s in our national DNA.

Also part of our DNA, second chances. Monte Kiffin, Bill Callahan, Derek Dooley, Rod Marinelli … Dallas’ coaching staff is filled with second chancers. Jason Garrett could be looking for a second chance of his own after this season, pending the outcome of another disappointing Week 17 showdown for the division title, probably.

Predicting this game is impossible, because the NFC East is the ugly underside of parity. Since Dallas did win its first game with the Giants this season, I’ll go with the Giants to win this one, stoking the fires of a three team race to nowhere.

She did have a scratch on her nose and on her hand, according to the police report.

According to the police report, which was obtained by The Detroit News, the confrontation began with an argument over Lewis falling asleep with the lights on centered around who is responsible for paying the bills. Lewis admitted to police that he threw pillows at her pretty hard, though said he did not intend to harm her.

Miller asserts that Lewis pushed her to the ground by her throat. Lewis says that Miller grabbed onto his leg in an attempt to prevent him from leaving. Miller also said that Lewis stepped on her hair at one point, though told police she did not know how she ended up on the floor.

There were no visible injuries to Miller is neck, and she did ask for or receive medical attention. She did have a scratch on her nose and on her hand, according to the police report.

Schwartz, an offensive lineman for eight NFL seasons before retiring in February, believes Ramczyk and Alabama left tackle Cam Robinson will be the first two linemen drafted.

Scouts would say he has high upside because he only played one year of college ball, Schwartz said. You can spin it any way you want but he is a good player. He is physical and he is athletic.

Like any draft choice — especially one that produces so many offensive line prospects like Wisconsin — there will be NFL teams concerned that Ramczyk will turn out more like Gabe Carimi than Joe Thomas. First, Ramczyk enters the NFL with far less playing experience than others from major college programs after turning pro following his junior season. The fact that Ramcyzk will be 23 this upcoming season contributed to his decision to leave early.8

Adam Gase wants DeVante Parker to show up on time

After a year of honing his personal style, Gase is establishing himself as a hybrid between some of his previous mentors like Nick Saban and John Fox. This was abundantly clear when he was asked about former first-round pick DeVante Parker.

“I think just consistency,” Gase said. “That day in, day out. Coming in the office at the right time, making sure that you’re doing every little detail right. It’s one of those things that some of us that have been around some really good players take for granted. He’s just got to understand everything he does is important. It’s a trust level with everyone in the building. If you tell someone you’re going to be there at 11 o’clock to lift, be there.

It’s not like the battle is something along the lines of “I’m a Jets fan so I want to destroy the Patriots and their quarterback.” It’s “I really like Peyton and I want to take down Tom as a result.”

That’s some next-level vengeance stuff. Garrett is pretty unlikely to get his opportunity, however, as the Browns, Garrett’s likely employer, are not currently schedule to play against the Patriots in 2017.

If the two teams do meet, it means Garrett was really good. Or he could end up going to a different team and sacking Brady as well.

Brady probably doesn’t mind that Garrett can’t get after him, because the former Texas A&M pass rusher is a very strong man. He threw up 33 reps on the bench press Saturday at the combine.

Garrett hasn’t completely locked himself into the top spot, but he’s coming close. Which would probably be a sigh of relief for Brady.