J.R. Smith’s infant daughter, born prematurely, comes home after five months in NICU

J.R. Smith has plenty of reasons to celebrate this spring that don’t involve basketball.

Elite Kids Derrick Shelby Jersey The Cavaliers guard and his wife, Shirley, were able to take home their baby daughter Dakota for the first time Tuesday after the newborn spent nearly five months in Cleveland Clinic Children’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.

Dakota, who was born five months early on Jan. 2 and weighed just 1 pound, now is looking healthy and weighing in at seven pounds, five ounces, according to Shirley’s blog, which has documented Dakota’s journey.

J.R. has been going back and forth between the NICU and basketball practice, as the Cavaliers embarked on their playoff run. The Smith family has grown close to other families at NICU and decided to honor all the mothers at the facility on Mother’s Day by giving each woman her own bouquet of flowers.

Frank Mason III, PG, Kansas. Mason was the Naismith Player of the Year after averaging 20.9 points as a senior. He measured just 6-0 with shoes, but his combination of speed, experience and shooting ability make him an NBA-ready backup point guard.

Jaelen Strong Womens Jersey P.J. Dozier, SG, South Carolina. Dozier is an excellent athlete who stands about 6-7 with a 6-11 wingspan. He can play some point guard, but his primary role will be as a defensive guard on the wing.

Jordan Bell, SF/PF, Oregon. Bell is undersized and he will lean on the Draymond Green comparisons to tempt teams into a first-round selection. He was dominant defensively in Chicago, and likely bumped himself into the first round.

Tony Bradley, C, North Carolina. Bradley did not play at the Combine, but his 12.0 percent body fat was second-most at the camp. Still, he is athletic for his size and moves well. If he stays in, he will probably be a first-rounder.

Seahawks miscues were non-factors in Falcons’ blowout win

The Seahawks made several momentum-killing mistakes, but those plays probably didn’t affect the end result of Saturday’s divisional playoff game, considering how the Falcons offense played.

Atlanta put up 422 yards of total offense and capitalized on each Seattle mistake en route to a 36-20 victory at the Georgia Dome.

Super Bowl postgame shows (approximately 10:30 p.m., ESPN, FS1, NFL Network). It is not necessarily a rule, but the Super Bowl broadcaster will typically rush postgame coverage off the air to make room for the lead-out show (a ’24’ spinoff this year). That leaves the bulk of postgame coverage to cable. Last year, ESPN’s NFL Primetime scored a 1.2 rating and NFL Gameday Final had a 0.6 on NFL Network. Those numbers may dip this time around, with game broadcaster Fox certain to direct viewers to postgame coverage on FS1. In 2014, then-fledgling FS1 had a mere 0.2 for a postgame edition of ‘Fox Sports Live’ compared to a 1.2 for NFL Primetime and a 0.4 for Gameday Final. Predictions: 1.2 (ESPN), 0.5 (NFLN), 0.4 (FS1).

‘Undisputed’ (noon Sunday, Fox). Fox Sports has gone into overdrive trying to promote it’s homage to ESPN’s First Take, and Super Bowl Sunday provides the biggest opportunity yet. It goes without saying that the show, which typically attracts a five- or six-figure audience on FS1, will generate more eyeballs than ever before. The real question is whether it can top last year’s comparable ‘Road to the Super Bowl’ telecast on CBS (2.6). Prediction: 2.8.

NBA regular season: Cavaliers-Knicks and Clippers-Celtics (8:30 p.m. Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday, ABC). The Knicks’ struggles and the Clippers’ injuries make next weekend’s NBA offerings on ABC not so appealing. Luckily for the network, last year’s comparable games set a low bar with a 2.0 on Saturday night (Thunder-Warriors on ESPN) and a 1.6 on Super Bowl Sunday (Clippers-Heat). Expect at least comparable numbers this time around. Predictions: 2.2 and 1.6.avalanche_120

Bills’ Reggie Bush crowned NFL’s new negative rushing yards ‘leader’

The plight of Reggie Bush’s lost season with the Bills will live on in the NFL record books.

Appearing in 12 games, the 2005 Heisman winner (an honor he later relinquished) and 2006 No. 2 overall draft pick finished 2016 with a grand total of -3 rushing yards, the fewest by a non-quarterback who logged more than 10 carries in a season since the AFL-NFL merger in 1970. In fact he’s the first running back ever to finish in the red in the modern era under those modifiers.

Many believed Goodell had cornered himself into attending the Patriots-Steelers game, considering it would seem odd to visit the same stadium two weeks in a row. But Goodell apparently doesn’t care about public perception, because he’s skipping out on the Patriots again.

Fans in Foxborough, Mass., obviously have taken notice to Goodell’s ducking Patriots games ever since Deflategate began. He hasn’t been at Gillette since the 2014 playoffs, and many believe it’s because he’s scared to attend, considering how much New England fans hate him.

Dominic Moore Mens Jersey Last week, Goodell attended the Falcons-Seahawks NFC game and then the AFC game between the Steelers and Chiefs. If the Patriots make it to the Super Bowl, he may be forced to attend the game but maybe he’ll feel safer considering the game is in Houston.
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Goodell often attends big games, so his absence from any matchup involving the Patriots sticks out.

There will be a lot of talk trying to bring down Watson while building up the others over the next three-plus months. The fact that’s he even considered as a more of a late first-round or early second-round pick is a whiff waiting to happen.

Would it be surprising if Watson isn’t the first QB off the board Not really, because by definition, the QB have-nots picking near the top have been rather QB clueless.

It’s time to get a clue and get Watson. Let’s hope before April 27, it becomes elementary.

Raiders’ Derek Carr explains ‘eerie’ feeling when he broke his leg

Derek Carron Tuesday, speakingon 95.7 The Game, opened up about the broken leg injury that ended his 2016 season.

When the injury initially happened, Carr screamed, It’s broke, over and over. The quarterback was asked what it was like to know immediately what had happened.
It was a scary feeling, he said. I’ve rolled and torn ligaments in my ankle and things like that. To have something break. It was an eerie feeling.
Rob Gronkowski Jersey It felt like everything got silent. There’s always a buzz in a stadium and I couldn’t hear a thing. All I could focus on was, ‘this isn’t right.’ I knew it was broke how it was sitting.They didn’t need to come out and tell me. I heard it. I heard it go. It was an eerie, scary thing.
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Without Carr, the Raiders struggled against the Broncos in the regular-season finale. They now prepare to face the Texans with rookie Connor Cook at quarterback.

Carr says the playoff game will be great experience for Cook.

He slept through one of the most exciting playoff games of all time. Rodgers was awesome in his first playoff start with 423 yards and four TDs, but Warner just had to throw for 379 yards and five TDs. Romando woke up just in time for overtime, and I told him, ‘You missed like the best game ever.’ Then Dansby returned the fumble. I said, ‘I meant worst game ever.’

True story: This was the first playoff game I watched with my wife and both children, and my three-month-old daughter loved it so much that, after John Kuhn’s TD run in the fourth quarter, she puked all over the long-sleeve Packers shirt I wear for every playoff game. Like, all over it. It was terrible. Green Bay led 17-13 at the time, so the decision was easy.

Mike Zunino carried the team.

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In the meantime, the Ms are getting the proverbial team effort to help survive the injury crisis. Sunday, left-hander Ariel Miranda emerged as the hero, scattering four hits and striking out nine in a complete-game victory.

First baseman Danny Valencia hit safely in his first two at-bats, giving him hits in nine-consecutive at-bats, tying a Mariners record (Raul Iba?ez, 2004).

Saturday, Mike Zunino carried the team. Hitting in the No. 9 hole, the catcher homered and drove in seven runs in Seattle’s 9-2 victory.
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From where we were about seven or eight days ago to reach the point we’re at right now says a lot about our team, Mariners manager Scott Servais said after Sunday’s game. It’s about the players and they’ve stepped up.

The Fowler signing added a high-quality player to an organization that hasn’t finished under .500 since 2007. The Cardinals are a veteran team, led by former World Series heroes Yadier Molina, Adam Wainwright and others. While there is no shortage of championship pedigree in St. Louis, as far as tenure goes Fowler is the low man on the totem pole. When asked what leadership traits he brought to St. Louis from Chicago, the 31-year-old center fielder was coy.

Bringing in the music, I’ll say that, Fowler said.

While his absence is felt in the Cubs’ clubhouse, Fowler seems perfectly content for the moment to simply build up trust and mesh with his new teammates. A little music is a nice addition, but Fowler isn’t going out of his way to make any huge changes to the style that has worked well in St. Louis over the past decade.

Buccaneers, Lawrence Tynes reach settlement in MRSA lawsuit

Lawrence Tynes has finally reached a settlement with the Buccaneers.

The former Tampa Bay kicker had sued his former team in 2015 and was seeking $20 million because of a MRSA infection in 2013 that ended his NFL career.

According to Hillsborough County court records obtained by the Tampa Bay Times, Tynes and the team signed paperwork Feb. 10 to “jointly stipulate and agree to dismissal” of his lawsuit. A pre-trial conference had been scheduled for August.

“Adrian is an important part of the Minnesota Vikings organization,” Spielman said in a release. “We will continue to have conversations with his representatives and leave our future options open while determining what is best for both parties moving forward.”

The final year of Peterson’s existing contract would have cost the Vikings an $18 million salary cap hit, starting with a $6 million bonus due if he was still on the roster March 11. Instead, he’ll hit the open market March 9 as an unrestricted free agent.

The former NFL MVP missed all but three games in 2016 thanks to a torn meniscus suffered in Week 2, a significant disappointment after his bounceback 2015 campaign.

Considering the expendability of NFL running backs and the fact that his 32nd birthday is looming March 21, Peterson doesn’t figure to get much in the way of guaranteed money anywhere. But someone will give the No. 16 rusher in league history a shot in training camp.

That could well be Minnesota, the only home he has known in the NFL. He, too, made it clear that he isn’t opposed to a return.
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Super Bowl 2017: Spread, odds, prop bets for Patriots-Falcons, Lady Gaga halftime show

Elite Andrew Gachkar Jersey Given the point spread, the Patriots have a 59 percent chance to win Super Bowl 51 against the Falcons, according to Pregame.com. The odds are with New England, which has been the Super Bowl favorite all season.

But the three-point spread is just one of many betting nuggets to keep in mind for the big game in Houston. The over/under point total for Patriots-Falcons, for example, was set at 59, the biggest total in Super Bowl history.

The Chargers will look to re-up pass rusher Melvin Ingram, who likely will cost upwards of $10 million to keep. Luckily for San Diego, he is their only big-name free agent.

The Chargers can slice and dice the roster a bit to create a few more million in cap room, but there doesn鈥檛 seem to be a path for the Chargers to be big spenders in 2017. They were probably one of the unluckiest and underperforming teams of 2016 and mainly will hope their fortunes change in 2017 with basically the same group, plus another $4 million in rookie contracts.

Pro: This would be a wild-card pick. Hooker was a big-time playmaker in the secondary for Ohio State. He showed tremendous range with seven interceptions and three pick sixes last season. He’s a Buckeye, too, which is a bonus with the fans.
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Con: It’s probably not going to happen. Hooker had only one year as a full-time starter at Ohio State. He’s a top 10 pick, but he might not be the No. 1 pick. A defensive back hasn’t been selected No. 1 since 1956. This isn’t the year for that.

Fresh off retirement, Steve Smith finds new gig at NFL Network

The 49ers can address the quarterback position in a number of ways in 2017. Some very expensive options might be available. Some second tier QBs might have some upside playing under coach Kyle Shanahan. The 49ers also could go the route of a cheap, one-year stopgap and/or just draft a player — a slower route to the return of respectability.

The expensive option that exists for the 49ers is Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins, who was Washington’s franchise player last year. He’s expected to be tagged again, and while the franchise tag doesn’t prevent a player from talking to other teams, it does attach a price of two first-round draft picks if he signs with another team. Despite that high price, teams in the past have worked out side agreements on trades for less than those two draft picks.

Limited Mens Frank Thomas Jersey I was blessed to have a long and productive playing career on the field but now it’s time to turn my attention to the business of covering the game and I couldn’t be more thrilled to be joining the team at NFL Network, Smith said in a release. As the only network with a 100-percent focus on the sport I love, I was drawn to NFL Network and look forward to joining a team made up of many legends of the game.

Smith was a five-time Pro Bowler over 16 NFL seasons and amassed 1,031 receptions (12th all-time) for 14,731 career receiving yards (seventh all-time) and 81 career touchdowns.
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Smith was a third-round pick from Utah by the Panthers in the 2001 NFL Draft and spent 13 seasons with Carolina before spending the last three seasons with the Ravens.

Kris Bryant belts two home runs to lead Cubs past Brewers

Don’t look now, but the Cubs are starting to get back on track.

The defending World Series champs were off to a brutally slow start this season, which had fans worried and pundits left scratching their heads. Yet, those short-lived days of doom and confusion appear to be a thing of the past.

Kris Bryant went 3 for 3 Sunday with four runs scored and two solo home runs to lead the Cubs to a 13-6 win over the Brewers. It was Bryant’s ninth-career multi-home run game.

The Cubs (22-20) have now won four out of their last five games, and have scored at least seven runs in all four of those wins.

Anthony Rizzo, who has looked more like a fringe starter than an MVP contender this month, hit a two-run home run in the eighth inning to ice the game. Despite the towering shot, Rizzo is batting just .226 with eight home runs this season.

This may seem like a ho-hum win for the Cubs, but the Brewers (25-19) are surprisingly leading the packed National League Central.

Kyle Brodziak Authentic Jersey Though it’s too early to say for sure — this is a long season — it appears the Cubs will be just fine. They just needed a little wake-up call to get themselves going again.

Stud of the day

Elite Kids Will Tye Jersey Marco Estrada led the Blue Jays to a 3-1 win against the Orioles by allowing just one run off of five hits in 7 2/3 innings. He also struck out 12 batters, and is now 3-2 with a 3.30 ERA this season.

Michael Bennett believes Seahawks would be ‘perfect place’ for Colin Kaepernick

Seahawks defensive end Michael Bennett voiced his support for Seattle to sign Colin Kaepernick, after rumors surfaced that the team may be looking to add him as a backup quarterback.

It’s been an unnecessarily long and drawn-out process for Kaepernick, but Bennett stepped up to the plate and spoke in support of the free agent.

The move is a response to criticism over a seemingly excessive amount of celebration penalties in 2016. There were 16 conduct flags through the first six weeks of the season, spurring complaints the NFL had become the “No Fun League.” In fewer than two months, more than $340,000 in fines was levied against players for violations like hugging referees, using the ball as a prop, and acts as egregious as a 1.5-second choreographed dance.

The change will be welcomed by officials and players alike. Scott Green, executive director of the NFL Referees Association, told SiriusXM Radio listeners, “Nothing is worse than someone going 80 yards for a touchdown and then we’re trying to figure out does that warrant a flag for what he’s doing in the end zone.

“We don’t really enjoy that. If we could get to a point where it would simply be fines by the league, that would be great. The issue we’ll still have is that guys can get pretty creative out there. The question of whether it’s a foul or not a foul, hopefully we’ll get closer to more of a black-and-white situation.”

The new rule will give officials some leeway in calling these penalties, allowing them to issue an unofficial warning before a celebration can cross the line. However, since most celebrations come and go in a matter of seconds, it’s unclear just how effective a warning system will be.
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